Students’ Society President Zach Newburgh discussed his controversial involvement with Jobbook.com, a social networking website designed to match students with employers, at SSMU Council on Thursday for first the first time in front of the general public.
Newburgh preceded his prewritten remarks, which lasted about half an hour, by speaking about the “total lack of assumption of goodwill” on his part by many students and much of the campus media following his censure by Council in the early hours of February 4.
“There has been a total and sweeping disregard for my personal character that I think I have displayed over the course of my involvement with SSMU,” he said. “I would even go as far to say that there has been a lack of humanity in this sense.”
During his speech, Newburgh provided a detailed history of his involvement with Jobbook, beginning with his first meeting with Jean de Brabant, the website’s founder, in September. Although relatively few new details emerged from the speech, Newburgh did reveal that, along with Engineering Undergraduate Society Vice-President Communications Josh Redel, another campus political figure, Engineering Senator Simon Liu, was also involved with Jobbook.
Newburgh also stated that he had made two primary errors in judgment: telling members of the Executive Committee that he was in New York during a trip to England to pitch Jobbook in November and using his SSMU email account to contact student union presidents on behalf of Jobbook.
“For this, though,” he said, “I do sincerely apologize.”
Students in the gallery asked a number of questions after Newburgh’s speech, some of them fairly tough. But Newburgh refused to answer any questions that he thought were asked with “malicious intent” or were not related to Jobbook.
When one student in the gallery asked if Newburgh would resign, however, Newburgh’s answer was clear. Only “charges brought against me on reasonable grounds,” he said, would convince him to leave office.