USC VP-campus issues Pedro Lopes suspended for 4 weeks

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Pedro Lopez

Joyce Wang

University Students’ Council VP-campus issues Pedro Lopes is suspended for four weeks beginning Monday following a decision made in a confidential session by Council Wednesday night.

A motion regarding a “personnel issue” was brought forward by President Fab Dolan and seconded by VP-finance Alison Todd.

Employment law and USC human resources policy prevents members of Council and USC employees from sharing any information from Lopes’ HR file, problems that led to his suspension, or what was discussed at Wednesday’s confidential session.

In a speech obtained by The Gazette that Lopes read at Council Wednesday, he said while he accepts the suspension and respects Council’s decision, he has several problems with the USC’s employment counselling services and the lack of communication leading to the suspension. He was in favour of the motion because he believed “members of the Board are accountable to Council and furthermore to the students that we represent.”

His speech referred to Dolan’s presentation, stating Dolan spoke about Lopes’ accessibility, communication, completion of work, punctuality and attendance.

In his speech, Lopes said he has been dealing with depression and he initially struggled with the VP position, saying he struggled with the fact that he was “supposed to have all the answers for everyone when I didn’t have the answers for myself.”

“I was not effectively managed and counselled,” Lopes said in his speech. “I felt very alone in this process; we don’t have the human resources policies to deal with matters like this. I would feel like a hypocrite and guilty if I just left and didn’t bring this forward.”

Lopes said he told the Board of Directors about his personal problems Dec. 17 and said from that point on he “worked on the things that I was requested to improve.”

He said he received a letter March 6 asking him to resign and stating if he didn’t, a motion would be posted to remove him from Council. According to Lopes’ speech, the letter said he hadn’t improved and the USC could no longer provide him with reasonable employment counselling.

Lopes “completely and utterly” disagreed, leading to Wednesday’s confidential council session.

Lopes is the only candidate running for VP-campus issues on next year’s Board of Directors. He said the suspension won’t affect his decision to run and he feels the suspension and personal problems leading to his suspension make him more qualified to serve the student body.

Lopes has been on a mandatory leave of absence during his campaign period, which ends Sunday. He must receive a vote of confidence from the majority of Council to reclaim his position.

Dolan said the suspension doesn’t affect Lopes’ standing as a candidate. He said, “in order for the rest of the Board of Directors to remain accountable to Council, we had to bring this motion forward at this time.”

In his speech, Lopes said despite the USC’s adherence to employment law, he feels many students can benefit from his personal experiences.

“I have gained so much from this experience and know I can make a difference to people,” Lopes said. “These experiences have made me stronger, more organized than ever before, and willing and hoping to really continue the great things done this year. I am more motivated to voice the mandate of this position.”

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