Investigation into AMS president to cost $15k

Estimated to take 45 hours, Assembly OKs external inquiry

AMS President Miguel Martinez addressed Assembly on Jan. 31. 
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AMS assembly passed a motion Thursday night to spend $15,000 on President Martinez’ investigation.

The cost for the investigation will be sourced from the Board of Directors’ budget, and is estimated to take the external party 45 hours to complete.

Before Assembly voted, Martinez took the floor to express his desire to move the investigation forward.

“I honestly do not believe we can put a price on transparency and accountability,” he said. “This is not an issue I have moved past. I am in favour of this external investigation.”

When assembly opened up to discussion, Commerce Society representative Dante Aralihalli said he felt “profound disappointment” in the AMS executive “for the fact that feet have been dragged” on the investigation.

He pointed out the initial allegations against Martinez were published nearly three months ago, adding the AMS was faced with either spending thousands on an investigation or sending a message to students that “this kind of alleged conduct can fly” in the Society.

He expressed concern that a lengthy timeline of the investigation could “negate any possible punishment” for Martinez, who will leave office at the end of April.

“It feels, at least from my perspective and from the perspective of others, the amount of time it took to get here basically makes it so this investigation, whether we go through with it or not, is kind of meaningless,” he said.

Engineering Society President Carson Cook also expressed his disappointment with the time it took to approve the budget.

“I don’t think it’s valid to say a large chunk of the time has been because of the investigator’s timeline,” he said. He added, however, the $15,000 was an “excellent use of the money.”

He pointed to the University of Ottawa and Ryerson University, where a lack of accountability in student government led to mismanagement of thousands of student dollars.

“This is not a climate where we can sweep accountability under the rug,” he said.

Vice-President (Operations) Liam Tharp pointed out the AMS executive has been “100 per cent removed from the situation.”

“Is this something that should have happened earlier? Yes,” Tharp said, though claiming there was nothing the executive could have done to expediate the process.

Mikela Page, chair of the board of directors, said the three-month delay was because of the external investigator’s schedule.

“Even if we had wanted the investigation to begin right the second we decided in November, unfortunately we also have to work with external parties,” she said.

Jamil Pirani, Sci ’19 AMS representative, also voiced his support for the motion.

“It’s important to most of the students we represent that our elected representatives be held accountable,” he said. “$15,000 is not a lot to spend to build the trust of the student body.”

Although the motion passed, four opposed and two abstained, including Martinez.

Corrections

February 1, 2019

This article incorrectly stated the inquiry's budget was directly sourced from the Advantage Fund as part of the Board of Director's budget. In fact, the Board of Director's budget is sourced from the Advantage Fund. 

The Journal regrets the error.

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