I would like to address some of the photos and comments from my personal social media accounts that have circulated on social media, and are now in the news. The comments and posts in question were first posted in excess of a year ago – in some cases when I was 18 (four years ago). All of the comments and posts in question surfaced and were circulated seven months ago, long after their original posting by myself. They have also been deleted since that time – about seven months ago.
I have apologized a number of times to the community for these past posts made in my youth. I am deeply apologetic and remorseful for the comments in the past. These in no way represent my views.
I am attending the University of Manitoba to learn and grow. These posts have surfaced now—twice—as saved files. I believe these photos and posts have been stockpiled and resurfaced in an attempt to divert a serious issue I brought to the attention of the student body on Sept. 11, 2013. My release, first published in a status update on Facebook, described a circumstance where the Canadian Federation of Students had contractually obligated our union to providing their day-timers to U of M students, this after we had found a local company that quoted much cheaper rates; the difference was in excess of $10,000.
The outgoing executive signed both the previous year’s contract and this year’s contract; this year’s contract was signed in the final days of their term, before our executive took office. When we went to cancel the contract, we were told that we would have to pay the entire amount—$60,000—even though zero costs were incurred for their production at that point in time. The clause indicating that demand had been added to this year’s contract and was not present in the prior year’s handbook contract.
One hour after my Facebook status update addressing this issue on Wednesday, Sept. 11, these photos resurfaced under the pretense of being “new” and current. I believe these have resurfaced in an attempt to assassinate my character and divert attention from the real issue – the needless wasting of student money.
The timing of this re-release and recirculation is 100 per cent not a coincidence. I, again, apologize for the posts; however, I hope I will no longer have to dwell on the mistakes of my past, so I can focus on the issues that matter to students.
I hope all can see this as an attempt to drag my character through the mud to distract students from the issues that really affect them. This is a unique time where my generation is extremely subject to the effects of social media. We have grown up using it habitually, and in many ways, do not understand the permanence of our posts. As a younger man, this was clearly my folly. Social media has evolved from a forum between friends to a professional log.
I hope everyone can move beyond the past and focus on the present and the future. This executive has done a number of extremely positive things over the last six months (our term started May 1). We are going to continue doing the things that best serve the interest of the students. This is a great university with a wonderful and diverse student body; I invite all to work together to elevate the quality of student life on our campuses.
The current UMSU executive and I look forward to meeting as many students as possible, and representing their interests to the best of our ability.
Al Turnbull, UMSU president