Jacob Argintaru, Eli Ridder | Analysis

IGNITE student government executives and staff have ignored 14 requests for comment, interviews and follow up replies from The Avro Post since elected, despite it being part of their job description to interact with campus media.

Critical to the point of a campus publication is to keep the student government accountable and seek comments from executives on a variety of student-related issues, however, the elected students and paid staff have largely ignored reasonable inquires.

Job Description: President of IGNITE

On June 6, The Avro Post reached out to all four IGNITE leaders for an update on their work, but only Vice President Maheen Nazim of the University of Guelph-Humber and Vice President Graham Budgeon of Humber College Lakeshore Campus replied.

The Avro Post requested another comment after the pair of executives replied, but this time on if they had anything to say about the results of the contentious Ontario election that gave the Progressive Conservatives a victory in early June, but they did not reply.

More significantly, The Avro Post emailed President Monica Khosla, Nazim and Humber’s public relations contact Andrew Leopold on Sept. 4 and asked several questions over how they would move forward on the free speech policy mandated by the province.

Despite it being an important topic in the public interest of the students at Humber and Guelph-Humber, the IGNITE executives did not respond.

However, Doug Ford’s Ontario government got back to the Post’s request for more information on the free speech policy.

Again, on Oct. 17, The Avro Post emailed the president, vice presidents of Guelph-Humber and Humber North Campus and Andrew Leopold as well as Guelph-Humber’s main contact to request comment, this time on the critical issue of cannabis legalization.

There was no response.

Later on the same day, an email was sent out by the Post asking for comment on the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy group’s stance that a campus-wide ban on the use of recreational cannabis is not in line with harm-reduction methods.

This email also went out to Mr. Leopold and Guelph-Humber administrators. Further follow up emails on the cannabis ban were never responded to by President Khosla.

During the first eight days of November, The Avro Post reached out to every IGNITE executive individually with questions regarding how much of their platform was accomplished since they’ve been in office. No one responded.

Staff were emailed regarding questions over previous and the current IGNITE budget items, including the full and final cost of the 2016 rebrand, on Nov. 11, to which there was no response.

All email requests from The Avro Post to IGNITE executives total 14 as of Nov. 15, with non of them answered as of mid-morning.

Due to the lack of communication from the student union and its staff, The Avro Post filed a freedom of information request on Nov. 13 so that at least some questions could be answered around IGNITE finances.

Its not clear whether IGNITE is just ignoring The Avro Post. There has not been any recent reports involving comment from the student union published by Humber News or the Et Cetera.

The Guelph-Humber community news page published a story on Vice President Maheen Nazim earlier in the year.

Beyond IGNITE, the University of Guelph-Humber administration has consistently ignored requests for comment, especially a critical follow-up to a story about the university compensating students to “interact” with Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Last year, the then-candidates for IGNITE offices were very open to press coverage, with most the executives giving The Avro Post exclusive interviews and indicating that they would be more student press-friendly then the previous administration and consistently transparent.

However, even the IGNITE executives of last year responded to requests for comment most of the time.

This is all despite hit being part of the job descriptions of the president and vice presidents to interact with campus media, with the president being the “main contact for all interviews”.

President Khosla has never given any campus media an interview and never responded to any request for comment since being elected.

The Avro Post has reached out for comment from IGNITE executives.


Image of IGNITE from The Avro Post.

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