Executive resignation update for UWSA membership

On August 5, 2020, former UWSA President, Jibril Hussein and former UWSA VPEA, Breanna Belisle tendered their resignations. On the same day, the UWSA Board of Directors accepted their resignations effective immediately.  

On June 16, 2020, the UWSA Board of Directors voted in favour of placing its Executive Director team on administrative leave, pending an investigation into their conduct, and engaged with an external consultant regarding mediation services and a restorative justice process. UWSA VPSA Melanie William still holds her position and is currently under administrative leave while the investigation is pending. 

The former UWSA Executives cited that the decision was made out of “caution for their mental and physical health and to recover from the trauma” and not as a way to escape accountability for their actions. Hussein also stressed “concern for the safety of his family and friends due to direct violent threats by many students on and off campus.” A full transcript of their resignation letters can be found in the August 5 Board Meeting Open Session Minutes here. 

The UWSA Board of Directors is meeting almost weekly to oversee the suspended business matters that sub-committees chaired by Executive Directors manage, in accordance with UWSA bylaws. In the absence of Executive Directors and regular sub-committees, full-time staff members of the UWSA have picked-up pieces of each portfolio, along with their regular duties. Contact information for UWSA staff and directors are available on the website.  

Over the next few months, the board will take several steps to restructure the organization in order to ensure the integrity of UWSA democratic processes, to create anti-oppressive leadership models, and to minimize the harm caused to students from marginalized communities.  We are currently engaged in a process to review and restructure UWSA elections process, issues management process, and safer space policies; as well as organizational connecting points with UWinnipeg offices regarding Human Rights and Diversity and the Respectful Work and Learning Policy. 

While UWSA governance and election by-laws will continue to evolve over the rest of the year, the position of President and VPEA will be open for election in the 2020 UWSA By-Elections. Additional details will be available when nominations open on September 28, 2020.  

For more information regarding the elections and governance, please contact our General Manager, Jennifer Black at j.black@theuwsa.ca. For other enquiries, please reach out to our Chief Operating Officer, Karolya Vargscarr at k.vargscarr@theuwsa.ca



University of Winnipeg
University of Winnipeg
University of Winnipeg