Commissioner Preston in trouble?

Political strife and disagreement claimed the careers of many politicians: Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte and Paul Martin to name a few. Students’ Union Academic Commissioner Gavin Preston may become the latest victim if proceedings to be brought by SU Vice-President Academic Rosie Nagra against him succeed.

“For some reason or another, Rosie decided to get rid of me,” Preston said. “It feels like I’m being beat upon.”

Preston is concerned about plans by Nagra to commence SU Review Board proceedings against him. She cites statements made by Preston in the July 23, 2002 Students’ Legislative Council meeting regarding commissioner remuneration. Preston claims he laid out a hypothetical situation where commissioners would claim more hours than they actually worked to get paid more. Nagra would not comment directly on the situation, citing concerns about privacy and impartiality.

Preston first heard of the potential proceedings against him on Thu., Aug. 1. When asked why she left Preston “out of the loop,” Nagra again cited privacy concerns.

“I did that deliberately,” she said. “I was not trying to keep him in the dark.”

Nagra also claims she has limited the discussion on the matter to herself and the three other SU executives who attended the July 23 meeting.

“It creates a very fair opportunity for review board members to hear the information for the first time,” she said.

“They’ve been going behind my back,” said Preston. “It was a secret. I haven’t been e-mailed, I certainly wasn’t contacted about it.”

Communications, according to Nagra, are a significant contributor to the issues at hand. According to Preston, he often plays the role of a “devil’s advocate” in SU discussions. But, Preston has been accused of making irrational and outrageous comments and arguments.

“I find him to be a valuable asset to the SU but his style of communications is sometimes offensive to people,” said Nagra. “A number of SU staff and students who read the on-line forums have been offended.

“Making personal attacks against slc members is inappropriate. For example, throwing a notepad at [SU President] Matt Stambaugh during the pipe-smoking discussion,” she continued.

Preston, often boisterous and critical of SU actions and personalities, believes there may be other motivations behind the proceedings.

“The su is so afraid of me being a public-relations nightmare, it’s afraid of anyone being loud,” said Preston. “She sees me as a threat.”

Nagra has until August 19 to submit an application to have the situation reviewed. Any member of the SU, including students, can ask for such a review when they believe an SU bylaw has been violated. The hearing before a special session of the slc must take place on or before September 19 and will decide if punishments suggested in the application are appropriate.

Preston does not want to spend more time on this issue and apologized to the SLC at its August 6 meeting.

“All this time, I could be doing something else, everyone could be,” said Preston. “Making Students’ Academic Assembly policies is more important.”

“If representing students was his goal, he would not have made those comments,” said Nagra of Preston’s comments about inaccurate remuneration reports.

Preston wants the issue concluded, but Nagra wants to proceed.

“He came to me and told me he didn’t want it to go to the review board,” said Nagra. “But he is the only one bringing up this issue.”

“It’s very extreme,” said Preston. “It certainly can be dealt with better. Hell, I’ll write an apology.”

“We’re forgetting the reason why we’re in the SU,” said Preston. “We’re supposed to be serving students, not ourselves, not our politics. I feel very undervalued as a commissioner.”

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