An investigation will not be conducted by UTSU into the public allegations that led to the impeachment of former VP campus life Akshan Bansal.
As previously reported by The Medium, Bansal was impeached by the UTSU board of directors in a vote 24 in favour and two against on December 30 directly following public allegations posted to Facebook on December 15 alleging Bansal sexually assaulted a fellow U of T student.
In an interview, UTSU VP external Jasmine Denike told The Medium that UTSU has not and will not conduct an investigation related to the Facebook allegations.
At press time, the allegations remain unverified.
After the allegations and the UTSU executive’s call for impeachment, UTMSU had issued a public statement on December 22 calling for “an immediate investigation into the allegations”.
“While neither the UTSU nor the UTMSU are the arbiter of the allegations, we must challenge rape culture on and off campus by affirming the narratives of survivors and by taking all claims seriously,” the statement adds.
“We are not a court,” said Denike in the interview. “[An] investigation is not something we have a right to [conduct].”
According to Denike, UTSU’s public statement calling for the union’s board of directors to impeach Bansal “in light of [the Facebook] allegation and based on the conduct of the VP campus life” does not mean that the allegations are true.
“The statement is not in any way accusing him of the allegation,” said Denike, speaking of the December 15 statement by UTSU. “We had to stand by the mandate of the union and we wanted to ensure that students felt safe and with something like this we just needed to solidify the fact that despite an allegation that is as severe as it was, we just wanted to make sure that students remembered that the union is a safe space and we do really care about the safety of students on campus.”
Denike also said the union sought legal counsel during the impeachment of Bansal and his removal occurred not only in response to the allegation, but also due to previous complaints against Bansal in relation to his work as VP campus life.
“The executive review committee has brought up multiple concerns involving the VP campus life for the past several months, [issues] regarding job performance, professionalism, and behaviour in the office” said Denike. “The impeachment came at the time of the allegation; however, it was not based solely on the allegation.”
Asked whether Bansal would have been impeached if the allegations had never been made on Facebook, Denike said she did not wish to comment.
The Medium reached out to Bansal for comment but he did not respond. The Medium also reached out to the author of the Facebook post, who chose not to comment.