SA remains silent after Eli El-Chantiry is suspended from Students’ Association board of directors and campus, to deal with criminal charge following SA sanctioned event
By: Rachel Aiello
He was supposed to be leading the college’s students association as president until April 2014.
Instead, today, Eli El-Chantiry is facing a charge of sexual assault in connection with an alleged incident that happened at an SA planning meeting at the Glen House Resort near Gananoque last April 12-14.
The charge has not been proven in court and no plea has been entered, but it was decided at El-Chantiry’s most recent appearance in provincial court—Sept. 20, 2013—that his trial will be held April 15-17, 2014 in Brockville.
He and his lawyer declined to speak about the case when approached at the courthouse by a Times reporter.
When the Times inquired about El-Chantiry’s absence, the SA issued a statement saying there was “an ongoing investigation regarding allegations between two individuals that were present at an offsite Student Association function.”
SA general manager Jack Doyle and other members of the board have declined to provide any details on the departure for legal reasons, except to say that since El-Chantiry was no longer a student at the college, he was no longer eligible to be president.
“During the summer the board was advised that one of our directors will no longer be able to serve on the Board,” El-Chantiry’s successor Sherline Pieris said in a statement posted on the SA website Sept. 4. “In accordance with the bylaw of the Students’ Association, the new officers of the SA were approved as follows: Sherline Pieris, president, Krisha Stanton, vice-president. All other directors continue to serve on the board.”
However, a confidential source with extensive knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition that they would not be named, said El-Chantiry recused himself from his role last spring after the incident came to light. At this time the board suspended him with pay.
The weekend retreat, where the incident allegedly occurred, was intended as a changeover where both the incoming and outgoing directors met and participated in training.
How it came to be that El-Chantiry, an international business student, is no longer enrolled at Algonquin is not being discussed by the college or the SA. Although, the confidential source said, El-Chantiry has been temporarily suspended, as a result of a student conduct review completed prior to the beginning of this semester.
The terms of his suspension are not being made known, and when the Times sought confirmation of this review, the chair of the student conduct board and the dean of the school of business, Dave Donaldson, said he was unable to confirm if a specific hearing had occurred, as all hearings are confidential.
The student conduct board is run through the college, a separate entity from the SA. In accordance with this, Algonquin College President Kent MacDonald said he was not in a position to provide any specific comment.
El-Chantiry—the nephew of Ottawa city councillor and police services board chair of the same name—was elected president by the incoming directors last spring.
Upon a nomination written by another director, the SA board chooses from among themselves for the positions of president, vice-president and secretary. Both El-Chantiry and Pieris were acclaimed, as they ran unopposed.
It was decided during an emergency meeting on April 29, that before outgoing president David Corson’s term was finalized May 1, Pieris would become president. The portion of the meeting dealing with all business related to this matter was held in-camera and sealed, not to be distributed ever, according to the confidential source.
The complainant declined to comment. A publication ban under the Criminal Code of Canada s. 486 has been issued on the details of the case, restricting publication of information that could identify a complainant or witness in a sexual offence.
The Times will continue to follow this story as it develops.
For more information pick up a copy of the Sept. 26 issue of the Algonquin Times, now available on campus.