UWSA president avoids impeachment

An attempt to oust student union president Kimberley Orr over allegations of theft failed at an emergency board meeting Friday, but there are doubts the issue has been laid to rest.

The University of Windsor Students’ Alliance board of directors defeated a motion to remove president Kimberley Orr following a lengthy closed door meeting • photo Joey Acott

Allegations of theft follow president’s conduct at Coming Home Music Festival

Darryl Gallinger

An attempt to oust student union president Kimberley Orr over allegations of theft failed at an emergency board meeting Friday, but there are doubts the issue has been laid to rest.

“I think [the UWSA board of directors] disagreed with my leadership style and decision-making,” Orr said, adding that the board took a specific incident and blew it out of proportion. “I was accused baselessly that I had stolen from the UWSA without any facts or evidence.”

According to Orr, she and two volunteers managed the entry line for advance ticket holders at the Sept. 5 Coming Home Music Festival. Those who wished to purchase tickets needed to wait in another line, however, some of the attendees waited in the admissions line expecting that they would be able to purchase a ticket.

“It was an hour and a half line,” Orr said of the downtown concert that drew approximately 5,000 people. She explained that instead of forcing people to wait in a different line again, they collected cash for admission and then allowed them entry without a ticket.

Board of director member Sami Habib said security guards at the event questioned Orr and her volunteers about this and warned them several times not to do it, but they continued anyways.

Orr said that she had been accused of stealing by Erik Pigeon, vice president finances and operations; an accusation supported by Habib. “Their accusation was that I put the cash in my pockets and did not return it to our accountants or the ticket centre.”

Protenders was hired to manage security for the event. “As far as problems, no arrests, just a few ejections for … passing drinks to people under age,” said owner operator Chris Mickle. He added that the student code of conduct was in effect for the event. “The only security concern was that everyone showed up at once, which created a back up.”

Mickle said he was informed afterwards that there had been an incident with improper ticketing procedures, and but explained that ticketing was not part of his staff’s duties that night. “With thousands of people there, our role was watching for underage drinking and keeping everyone safe.”

He said he would like to see another entry line added to avoid congestion and delays next year.

Pigeon worked the ticket centre at the concert and agreed that lines were long. “There were logistical and managerial issues which potentially could have led to theft,” he said. “There was chaos at the entrance and absolutely no direction for ticket holders on where to go.” He added that riot police needed to be called in to regain control of the entrance and maintain order because of the large crowds of people waiting to enter.

Discussion over the lack of organization made its way onto the event’s Facebook page, where attendees commented on the chaotic, long lines and the arrival of the police. “Was a good show … but not worth the organizational [problem]. By far, easily the most unorganized event I have ever attended … What is the point standing in two lines? Neither of which had any line formation whatsoever. Avicii started while I was waiting to get in,” said a commenter named Brian Vitale.

After a two and a half hour long in camera discussion, the UWSA directors put forward a motion to impeach the president. Without much debate the vote was defeated 5 – 1, with Habib the only director voting in favour of impeachment.

“We’ll see what happens,” Habib said of the failed vote. “I’m glad I could register my vote.” Habib added that theft was alluded to by those who witnessed Orr’s actions at the concert, but finding substantial proof was an issue.

Had the motion passed, Mohammad Akbar, vice-president university affairs, would have stepped in to fulfill the president’s role. If the motion had passed, Akbar said that, “I would have tried to run the position in a by-election as soon as possible and return to my duties.”

Akbar declined to comment on the incident at the concert, but explained that board has the ability to sever pay and transfer powers, but that a formal impeachment must transpire through a student referendum.

“They were trying to go around students to impeach me, that surprised me.”

5 Comments on UWSA president avoids impeachment

  1. Akbar? its a trap

  2. So students should be glad that their President is allegedly mishandling and pocketing funds? Do you have any idea what you’re saying? You seem to know Kim Orr’s shady personal character yet feel terrified of someone fulfilling their obligations as VPUA? Are you on crack or do you have some personal issue against Akbar which blinds you to the main point of this article, (ie the alleged theft of student money)? This is not a “minimal” problem, it’s quite a large scandal. In fact, now that you mention it, this so-called “great event” has been blasted as one of the most unorganized and badly managed and poorly staffed events patrons had attended. Did you even attend the concert? I’ve been to conferences with high security, bag checks, the works, with over 20000 people in attendance and lineups didn’t take more than 20 minutes. How are you going to justify this as a great event, where you had underage drinking, over 1.5 hour wait to get into the venue, organizers drunk backstage, mismanaged lines, and so on. Anyway, please elaborate on what terrifies you so much about Akbar that you would much rather have a lying, plagiarizing (as per your own information), deceitful, and alleged thief as your President.

  3. …facepalm…

  4. why would the thought of Akbar taking over a president terrify you? I know him and he is a committed guy, always involved in university events

  5. This wouldn’t have been far removed from Orr’s personal character (see: UWSA Elections May 2010 where she was accused of and penalized for plagiarizing her entire campaign), but the thought of someone like Akbar taking over as UWSA President is even more terrifying. Let’s just be happy that the UWSA threw a great event, that people were happy and problems were minimal.

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