UTMSU’s sustainability coordinator resigned from his position last month, alleging in a Facebook post that the work environment was unwelcoming to his needs.
According to Raymond Noronha, president of UTMSU, Kamran Khan resigned from UTMSU on January 22 following disputes with UTMSU regarding what Khan called “health and safety issues” as well as over UTMSU having declined to cover the cost for Khan to attend a conference in his capacity as sustainability coordinator.
In a Facebook post that was also privately forwarded to the Medium, Khan announced his resignation and explained that as a diabetic and celiac, he had not been provided with appropriate meal options while attending staff meetings.
“I didn’t realize that this would become a trend with UTMSU. No food was ever provided for me and as a result threatened my health, and they didn’t seem to take it too seriously even though this was a violation of equity and health safety in the workplace,” said Khan’s post. He said that halal needs were more regularly attended to than his own.
Noronha said in response that he doesn’t think it was an equity or a health and safety issue.
“I will admit that on one occasion we did fail to provide Kamran with food tailored to his needs. He made us aware of that fact and we committed that moving forward, we would order food specifically catered to his needs,” said Noronha. “However, there was no other instance after that where UTMSU failed to cater to his needs.”
Khan also alleged that during an Environment Week event to which students and faculty were invited, local organic food was expected and required but an “associate” of Khan’s planned on purchasing non-organic food at local supermarkets, an option that Khan refused on moral grounds, he said.
Khan also cited the fact that UTMSU did not pay for his attendance at the seven-hour Toronto Environmental Summit, though he was hired staff, as a motivation for his resignation.
In response, Noronha said in an email interview, “We highly encourage UTMSU staff members to attend conferences that would enhance their skills at the workplace. We encourage them by often paying the cost associated with attending the conference, which also includes registration costs and food. Kamran attended the conference and UTMSU agreed to reimburse him for his travel, food, and registration.
“We do not pay any coordinators or associates to attend the conference,” Noronha continued. “The reason for going to the conference should not be [to get] paid for a few extra hours, but rather for the skills and knowledge you gain via being in attendance.”
Khan declined to comment.