Plan for LSU transparency gone with ousted general manager

Desmond Rodenbour, LSU general manager, looks at the Democracy Project referendum template in his office. Photo: Alyse Kotyk.
Desmond Rodenbour, former LSU general manager, was working to bring more transparency to the LSU before he was fired. Photo: Alyse Kotyk.

Reported by Alyd Llewellyn and Jake Wray

Fired general manager, Desmond Rodenbour, was hired in August to make changes by one LSU board then fired in November by a new board before those changes could be implemented.

Rodenbour said in an interview with The Voice that his goal was to make the LSU more transparent and to improve its democratic process.

Some of the changes he said he implemented included streamlining the candidate selection process and strengthening the role of the chief returning officer. But left unfinished were his and the former board’s other plans. Those included starting a student run radio station, increasing services provided by the LSU and a new set of bylaws he hoped would increase the transparency of the organization.

“Early on I had great support,” Rodenbour said. “Until, to be quite frank, the by-election happened. The political demographics of the board changed and the board’s priorities changed.”

LSU quietly fires employees

Last week Rodenbour was dismissed just three months into his contract, which he thought would run until the end of next semester. Also dismissed was the LSU’s lawyers and council member Harsimran Malhi.

Malhi, who was part of the previous board that brought in Rodenbour, told The Voice that a fourth person was also fired.

“When we hired him he dealt with things so politely and so friendly. If he wanted to make a change he would go talk to staff members,” Malhi said of Rodenbour. “He would make them agree, if not then he would see if there was a common ground.”

Malhi said she believes her firing is related to her support of Rodenbour’s initiatives.

The LSU provided the names of the newly elected board, but refused to provide any contact information. The board members are: Diksha Arora, Saman Barring, Harjot Grewal, Amritpal Kaur Kaler, Harman Kaur, Meharban Singh and Parmeshar Toor.

Jeremy McElroy, general manager of the Kwantlen Student Association, said he was surprised to hear about the manner in which Rodenbour was let go.

“It’s not very common for general managers or executive directors of student unions to be let go quite like that,” McElroy said.

Rodenbour said he still believes in the democratic process.

“I was careful, that on the last day when things looked like they might go south, I presented the new by-laws at the open board meeting so they are not confidential,” Rodenbour said.

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