SU representative locked out of office

By Sarelle Azuelos

For the past several months, dissent has been brewing in the Students’ Union small and maze-like office on the first floor of the MacEwan Student Centre.

Communication and culture student representative Matt Bladek has lost all access to the office and use of SU resources, including a Den VIP sticker, for what he described as a “personality clash.”

SU president Dalmy Baez and vice-president academic Pamela Weatherbee met with Bladek late last semester to discuss his behaviour. They said that Bladek committed to improving his behaviour, but since then they have received more complaints from students, C&C faculty and other elected officials. Weatherbee and Baez said they were unable to share the nature of these complaints to protect the complainants’ privacy.

“We take the concerns of his constituents and the concerns of elected officials very seriously and we felt that it would be appropriate to take further action,” said Baez.

Bladek said the lack of access to SU resources makes it difficult to represent his constituents.

“I’m not able to meet with other faculty representatives to discuss projects or anything like that,” he said. “In effect, I’m being constructively dismissed.”

He added the initial complaint came from a C&C faculty member who was not satisfied with his informal approach to club meetings. Bladek has since been removed from his position as chair of the C&C Clubs Committee. He argued that his position was to maintain the best interest of undergraduate students and not faculty members.

“The thing that we’re the most concerned about is the C&C faculty,” said Weatherbee. “I have stepped in to communicate with the club executive and with some of the faculty members that have raised concerns, because if they don’t feel comfortable approaching him then they have someone to approach.”

He refused to meet with the SU executive because of hostility within the office, according to e-mails with them that Bladek shared with the Gauntlet. He feels the current issues are the result of his disagreements with Weatherbee’s leadership style, which he described it as a “dictatorship.” He also said Student Academic Assembly meetings in November and December were only useful for collecting income.

“I think there’s definitely a difference between being constructively critical and being confrontational,” said Weatherbee.

Both groups hope the confrontation will be resolved soon. The SU does not have a policy outlining a process to resolve issues with commissioners or faculty representatives.

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