UTMSU’s decision to hire Munib Sajjad as the new executive director has sparked debate from former ERC members regarding whether the choice is a conflict of interest.
Earlier this year, UTMSU’s president, Nour Alideeb, provided different statements to The Medium and to The Varsity.
When asked who was on the hiring committee, Alideeb responded in an email to The Medium on September 4, citing the Hiring Committee section in UTMSU’s Policy Manual, which states that it must consist of UTMSU’s president, VP internal, VP Equity, and two board members.
On September 6, in an article by The Varsity, “Former UTSU President Munib Sajjad hired as UTMSU Executive Director”, it was stated that Alideeb was not part of the hiring committee.
“Alideeb did not participate in either the Executive Coordinator Hiring Committee or the Executive Director Hiring Committee after having rescued herself to avoid a conflict of interest,” stated the article.
The Medium asked Alideeb what was meant by the “conflict of interest” that The Varsity mentioned, and Alideeb emailed The Medium saying that the hiring processes are confidential.
“I cannot comment on hiring processes, as they are confidential Human Resource matters. However, conflict of interest is self-invoked and as such I chose to step down from the hiring committee,” she said.
When further asked what she meant by “self-invoked”, Alideeb did not respond, as of press time.
The Medium also contacted Sajjad for comment on how he was hired into the position.
“I applied for the job, as I saw a job posting listed on the UTMSU website,” he said in an email to The Medium. When asked to confirm who was on the hiring committee, he redirected The Medium to Jackie Zhao, UTMSU’s VP internal, whom Sajjad stated was the chair of the committee.
Zhao responded in an email saying, “The hiring committee for the executive director consisted of myself [Zhao], Marise Hopkins [UTMSU’s VP external], Maleeha Baig [UTMSU’s VP equity], Walied Khogali [former executive director], and two board members.”
Zhao also mentioned that the job posting of executive director “was advertised through the UTMSU website, newsletter, and through professional networks.”
In an interview with The Medium, Sana Chishti, who was a member of UTMSU’s election review committee for the 2016 Spring elections, stated that Sajjad was the campaign manager for Unite UTM, the current executive team of UTMSU.
Chishti also said that Sajjad became an executive coordinator on July 12, after Unite UTM started their term in UTMSU’s office early last May.
“That position never existed before. I’ve never heard of that in my years [at UTM],” said Chishti. “That position was only created for [Sajjad]; to get him into the picture. It is a complete conflict of interest due to creating positions based on him.”
As of press time, Sajjad did not respond to The Medium’s requests to respond to Chishti’s comments.
“The executive coordinator role was created to support the executive team and board while Mr. Walied Khogali prepared for his departure,” said Zhao.
Zhao confirmed that the position no longer exists. “The job no longer exists because it was advertised as a fixed part-time contract position from July 12 to September 9, due to the absence of a full-time executive director,” he said.
Zhao also stated that, like the executive director position, the executive coordinator position was posted on the “UTMSU website, newsletters and professional networks”.
Sajjad’s former positions
Sajjad has served as the VP external for UTMSU for two terms from 2010-2012, UTSU’s VP university affairs and academics in 2012-2013, UTSU’s president in 2013-2014, the VP internal for the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students and the executive director for Scarborough Campus Students’ Union in 2014-2015, which he stayed in for almost a year and departed for reasons that remain unclear, according to a September 2015 article by The Varsity.
The hiring of Sajjad for the executive director position took place after Walied Khogali, who had been UTMSU’s executive director for almost five years since August 2011, vacated it.