Student attempting to remove CUSA councillor over ‘inappropriate’ comments

In a conversation with two members of the Charlatan editorial staff just over a week ago, Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) councillor Justin Campbell made a joking reference to “kidnapping” vice-president (internal) Ariel Norman.

The comment was overheard, publicized on the Internet, and discussed at a Jan. 24 CUSA council meeting. A short time later, the long-standing computer science councillor issued a public apology in the Charlatan.

“I understand that my comment was insensitive and offensive,” Campbell wrote.

“I apologize for any offence taken by anyone regarding the sarcastic response . . . this was a tough learning experience, but I now understand what I did was wrong.”

However, at least one student is saying the apology isn’t enough.

During the Jan. 30 CUSA council meeting, sixth-year human rights and political science student Arun Smith initiated a process of recall against Campbell.

The process to recall Campbell is outlined in section 2.5 of CUSA’s bylaws. Smith must gather 99 signatures from the computer science department, or 20 per cent of the entire department, starting two weeks after his Jan. 30 petition for recall.

Alternatively, a two-thirds majority vote of council could approve the recall.

While not commenting directly to whether or not he’s worried about the outcome, Campbell said “the support of computer science speaks for itself.”

“I don’t foresee any issues,” he said.

“If they recall me, they recall me. That’s democracy. If they don’t, they don’t.”

Smith said the decision to start the process was “quite simple.”

“The apology he issued, while sincere and contrite, is a political apology,” he said. “It makes no promises of restitution, it does not state that he’ll undergo anti-oppression training, it doesn’t state he’ll work with victims and survivors of gender-based violence and sexual violence and it does not make a direct apology to [Norman].”

Smith mentioned the possibility of conducting class talks to help gather signatures, but said nothing is concrete yet.

“I will be actively working with partners to ensure those signatures go out because we cannot foster a campus where gender-based violence is accepted,” he said.

He said ultimately, the decision as to whether or not to recall Campbell will be up to computer science students.

“He is currently their representative, if they want to see him recalled then it has to be their prerogative to find a replacement for him,” Smith said.

Getting 99 signatures isn’t likely, according to Nataly Slewa, a third-year computer science student who works with Campbell at the Carleton Computer Science Society.

“I don’t like to get involved, but . . . he’s lucky if he gets 10,” Slewa said.

“A lot of computer science students are not interested in CUSA because of everything that’s happening so [Campbell] is kind of our voice when we’re too tired to say anything . . . a lot of us know him and love him and respect him so I highly doubt [Smith] will get 99.”