Brilhante and McInnis removed from HSF Board of Directors

File photo of Tim Brilhante. File photo of Tim Brilhante.

Updated-April 14
Kathleen Jolly
Student Government Reporter

The mounting tension at HSF has come to a head.

President Tim Brilhante was removed from his position as Director at the last Board of Directors meeting of the school year, just three weeks before the end of his term.
Steven McInnis, board member for Guelph-Humber, was also removed from the Board of Directors.

After the meeting, Brilhante said, “Tonight Steven [McInnis] and I were terminated for standing up for student rights. Tonight Steven and I were terminated because we wanted to hold the organization accountable.”

Brilhante was removed from the board in a 6-2 vote April 9, which also ended his presidency.

Brilhante said in the meeting that the move was fueled by a desire to keep him from running in September’s by-election.

“Given that the rules in our constitution prevent a terminated president from running in the next election, to me that’s the motivation for tonight’s discussion, and that’s how it appears,” he said.

Under the Elections and Appeals policy, any HSF member removed from office may not run for one calendar year.

Any discipline or termination of me by the board will… have negative connotations on my future employment, and for that reason I will be considering legal options if
your decision is to terminate me.

Tim Brilhante, Former HSF President

Board members took turns discussing their concerns with Brilhante’s presidency.

In the meeting, acting HSF Chairperson Eric Collings, listed several grievances against Brilhante.

They included Brilhante allegedly using his position on the board to bring up his disqualification from the election at the last board meeting, contacting Humber staff about the disqualification, calling into question Rosa Figueroa’s position as Chairperson at the last board meeting, which Collings called a personal attack, and a Facebook post Brilhante wrote, in which he told students to skip class if they had to, in order to attend the Annual General Meeting.

“We are students first, so as to broadcasting through social media encouraging students to sacrifice their academic time in order to attend the AGM, I think that goes against what HSF stands for,” Collings said.

Board member Emily Rockarts brought up Brilhante’s work hours as a point of contention.

“When I got the email from Frank (Rizzi, Finance and Operations Officer) with the outlined hours of how many hours you’ve been in the office, it was maybe 25 hours,” she said.

Another board member contended that it was 21 hours.

In response, Brilhante produced a stack of paper he said broke down everything he did in office.

“Everything that I’ve done comes to 350 hours on top of everything. The president is supposed to earn 35-40 hours a week…. When you do the math, that comes out to two months of additional work,” he said.

In an interview after the meeting, Brilhante said he will be taking this decision to court, because the move will negatively impact his reputation.

“Any discipline or termination of me by the board will… have negative connotations on my future employment, and for that reason I will be considering legal options if your decision is to terminate me,” Brilhante said in the meeting.

VP Student Affairs North Kay Tracey, brought up an executive team meeting in December, where it aired grievances in an attempt to mend relations to improve cooperation among members.

“Nothing changed. It’s not like we didn’t try to solve all of the issues that we were having before we brought it to the Board and said listen, he’s not performing as president… we’re turning to each other when we need help and not to him,” she said.

Board members discussed Brilhante’s conduct for approximately 40 minutes before making the decision.

Brilhante had started the discussion by asking that if they were to have a motion to terminate him, to just do it.

“I don’t want to drag out this meeting, so if you’re going to motion to terminate me, just put it on the table and let it be done,” Brilhante said to the board.

VP Student Life Lakeshore Colin Edwards-Crewe responded by saying that students had been unsatisfied by the level of information disclosed by the HSF.

“I think the reason we’re having this discussion is… for the students who are going to be reading these minutes, and offer them some explanation,” he said.

No one addressed myself saying that they had any concerns. How am I supposed to defend myself from what I’m being accused of if I don’t even what I’m being accused of?
Steven McInnis

McInnis was also removed from the board, after members discussed his starting an online petition in support of Brilhante receiving an appeal.

McInnis appeared blindsided.

“No one addressed myself saying that they had any concerns. How am I supposed to defend myself from what I’m being accused of if I don’t even what I’m being accused of?” he said.

Board member Cristina Marin said McInnis’s actions were a breach of the Director Loyalty and Commitment policy, which states a Director must not engage in any outside activity that could conflict with thier HSF-related duties and responsibilities.

Collings agreed, “The petition is a complete conflict of interest for Steven, for he sits on the Elections and Appeals Committee… you can’t promote for an appeal to happen if you sit on it.”

McInnis responded by saying that he started the petition after Brilhante was denied an appeal, and after the polls closed, therefore relieving him of his duties on that committee.

Brilhante was vocal about his opposition to McInnis’ removal after the board voted 5-4 in favor of removal.

“I think it’s absolutely despicable, you can put that in the minutes,” Brilhante said.

Collings responded by asking Brilhante to, “please refrain from making those kinds of comments, out of respect for the board please.”

Edward-Crewe, who voted for Brilhante’s removal, said he did what he thought was right.

“For me it was a hard decision as to whether to let it pass because it’s the last board meeting, make it look like it was smooth for the students and just let everything fly… because it looks bad there’s not a doubt that it looks bad. But it’s either that or do what I actually thought was legitimate, what was right,” he said.

After the meeting, Brilhante wished the incoming executives good luck, and encouraged them to hold HSF accountable.

“I wish the new executive team coming in all the best, and I hope they have the courage to stand up for student rights and advocacy, and remember that it’s the Humber Student Federation and not the Humber Full Time Staff Federation,” he said.

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