Douglas Student Union meltdown

Way back in March, I posted a bit about some financial irregularities at the Douglas College Students Union. The story, which I was vague on then, is starting to come to a head.

20061023.jpg

And boy howdy are things getting weird.

Up front, an unusually vague statement of disclosure: I have no formal relationship to the DCSU, but I know some of the principals in this case from long ago, and I have what I shall not-cryptically-enough describe as a strong connection the college itself.

That said, here’s the Global News summary of the story:

More coverage here, here, and here, but not here. The campus paper has been nearly useless at telling this story.

As you can see in the photo at the top, there is now a movement afoot to impeach the current DSU officials. I have literally lost track of all the lawsuits, but if my understanding is correct, Joey Hansen is now suing the DSU over the forensic auditor’s report, the DSU and Douglas College are mutually suing each other, and the impeachment petition will end up in front of a judge as well. I think someone is suing The Peak as well, for their story coverage.

Bonus: it sounds like SFU is going through its own odd political paroxysms. Oh dear.

5 Comments so far

  1. Marina (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2006 @ 2:20 pm

    This is so sad. As a student at Douglas, I’m ashamed to say I voted for some of those folks. As for The Other Press, you’ve got it right – they’ve been useless with this story and actually, that paper is pretty much useless in general.


  2. TJG (unregistered) on October 24th, 2006 @ 12:40 am

    Hey Ryan, great post! I linked to this entry here:
    http://www.studentunion.ca/2006/10/impeachment-campaign-douglas-students.html


  3. Brady Ehler (unregistered) on November 1st, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

    Re: This is so sad. As a student at Douglas, I’m ashamed to say I voted for some of those folks. As for The Other Press, you’ve got it right – they’ve been useless with this story and actually, that paper is pretty much useless in general.

    Hi, my name is Brady Ehler, and I am the Opinions editor for The Other Press.

    I am sorry that the paper hasn’t provided you with the details you were looking for, but this isn’t exactly a new scandal. We have been watching it unfold for over a year now, and we’ve been covering it as it unfolds. I suggest you run a search for “DSU,” in our archives (http://www.theotherpress.ca/index.php)

    As far as pointing blame, by claiming, for example, that Joey Hansen is responible for embezzling funds, well, that’s a liability issue. So, if you were looking for that kind of dirt, sorry, we don’t want to get sued.

    We will be continuing to document the story as it unfolds. Look for a new article (or articles)in the upcoming November 15th article about the impeachment proceedings, and other new developments.

    I’m sorry that you don’t like our paper, but some of us really care about it. Saying that it is “useless in general” is just childish, and I personally find it insulting.

    When’s the last time you published an article?


  4. Ryan Cousineau (unregistered) on November 1st, 2006 @ 6:59 pm

    Brady: thanks for giving your side of things. I know that running a student paper is a thankless, mostly-voluntary grind that has to be fit somewhere in between classes, sleep, work, and half-hearted attempts to have a life. That said, I still think the OP has done a poor job of reporting this story.

    I followed the search you suggested. Aside from a considerable number of completely irrelevant search hits (something about naturopathy, several hits on “miDSUmmer night’s dream”…), I see a really very awful feature from October 5th that contains a two-sentence summary of the present state of affairs, followed by several discursive paragraphs about the coming revolution and Lindsay Lohan.

    Before that, there are two notable references to this story in the last year or so. The first is a September 28th letter to the editor from college VP Blaine Jensen, which explains the DC position, and before that we have to reach back to October 2005 (!) to find an article about the “Alliance of Defiance”, a short-lived (and probably bogus) organization devoted to independently defending the DSU’s honour in the face of the college’s fee suspension.

    I would be glad for a correction of the OP’s record on this beat, but I don’t think I’ve missed anything.

    I would suggest that both my reporting here (a mere two articles in the year) and the SFU newspaper’s reporting have been much more substantial and informative.

    Here’s a list of the key story points I think the OP has completely blown:

    -Did you report on the leak of the draft forensic audit report? On the contents of the draft report? Did you try to pursue the story of who the leaker might have been?

    -What did you report when the college originally suspended the DSU’s fees? Did you request an interview from a DC rep? From anyone in the DSU?

    -When the revelation of the Canadian Federation of Students granting massive loans to the DSU to keep it afloat came to light, did the OP ask any members of the DSU, the employees, or any CFS reps for an interview?

    -Have you requested an interview from Joey Hansen?

    -Did you report on who the candidates were for the last DSU election? Did you report on the vote counts for the DSU election? Did you report who won the election? Did you report on the claims of irregularities and the ensuing fracas? As of right now, who are the duly elected officeholders in the DSU?

    -What is Joey Hansen’s current employment status with the DSU? Is he still on leave? What is the current status of the rest of the DSU’s employees?

    -What is the current financial status of the DSU? Where is its money currently coming from in light of at least a year of nonexistent college fees?

    -Who is suing who? I have heard on-the-record assertions that the DSU has filed suit against the college, and that Joey Hansen has filed suit against, well, the video above will no longer load, so you’ll have to check who Mr. Hansen claimed to be suing in the Global report by phoning the TV station and asking them. Have you checked up on the court documents? Have you been to the New Westminster courthouse to check up on the documents filed? By my estimation, the courthouse is less than a hundred yards from your newspaper’s offices.

    -What is the current status of the DSU impeachment movement I reported on in the article above? What are the necessary terms of success? Who is behind the movement? Who are they trying to impeach, and why? What is the defense of the impeachees? What are the implications if they succeed?

    That’s a list off the top of my head. The point is this story should be entirely your newspaper’s beat. Where’s your coverage? Why aren’t you reporting on these stories, which are of enormous importance to the future of Douglas College and its students, and possibly to the CFS itself and maybe even to the Canadian student movement in general.

    Regarding your question for Marina about her publication record, I assume you’re discounting her blog (see link on her name) as a means of publication. I suppose the same question might be applied to me, since I’m the one who really did first accuse your paper of “nearly useless” coverage.

    Assuming my work here, on my own blog, and as an intern for a rather large online motorcycle magazine doesn’t count, I guess that would make my last, on-paper byline the articles I wrote for . . . The Other Press!

    Yep. Go search your paper’s morgue for sports photos and articles from January 1992 until December 1993. I think I put in a couple of rugby stories.

    I think I did a better job of covering the rugby team than you did of covering the DSU. Prove me wrong.


  5. Brady Ehler (unregistered) on November 1st, 2006 @ 10:58 pm

    Obviously, your searching through the articles has been selective, at best.
    For example, you missed an opinions piece by myself (on Oct. 5)that gave a summary of what was happening up to this date.

    We have been working on this whole debaucle as it has been unfolding, and we are continuing to do so. There will be more in the next issue, and more in the one after that.

    Some of your points are relevent, others are not. Frankly, I just got home from a long day of school, and don’t feel like attempting to debunk them. However, I will attempt to answer your questions in point form:

    -Yes, yes, no, that might have made us liable for slander. We dont want to get sued (like The Peak).

    -The story

    -Not sure

    -Yep

    -No, no, yes, no one is quite sure (the postions are in dispute).

    -He is out. No. I assume they are getting paid.

    -The DSU is racking up a huge tab.

    -There was talk of the DSU taking The College Board to court. Joey is sueing The Peak, and God knows who else.

    -Somone will asking for court documents Friday (which will be unatainable until then). personally, no.

    -The students of Douglas College are responsible for the impeachment. Personally, I’m not sure who is in charge. The students organizing the impeachment had to gather about 850 signatures to call a general meeting. They got well over 1000. Last I heard, they were going to force the DSU board to call a general meeting. When they do, a quorum of 75 must be reached. When the motion is made to impeach the staff, 75% of those present must vote in favour.

    You said I could get the last word, so here it is.



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