WEB UPDATE: SA president denies sexual harassment charges

Posted Sunday, Nov. 13, 7:10 p.m. Student Association President Audai Shakour categorically denied sexual harassment charges leveled against him last week by a female colleague.

A female SA member alleged that an act of harassment occurred in mid October, and she filed a complaint three and a half weeks later on Nov. 7, Shakour said.

The University Police crime log lists a violation as occurring in Ivory Tower – where Shakour lives – at an unknown time on Oct. 14. The case is listed as closed and referred to Student Judicial Services.

The female complaitant, whom The Hatchet will not identify because she claims to be a victim, could not be reached for comment. University officials do not comment on pending SJS cases.

Shakour would not say whether he has attended an SJS hearing, or when future hearings might be. When a case is listed as closed on the UPD crime log, it usually denotes that University investigators have interviewed the alleged parties involved.

Some SA officials are questioning Shakour’s ability to lead, given the allegations surrounding him and the resignations of four of his top advisers in the last week.

Shakour said the female student’s allegations are entirely unfounded and do not affect his ability to preside over the SA.

“In the end I will be found exonerated from these charges,” Shakour, a senior, said Sunday in an interview.

Shakour said the female colleague only filed the complaint after the two had a work-related disagreement and he made a decision she did not like.

“These are allegations. They are untrue. It is one of the most unfair things that can happen to anyone. Anyone can make these allegations,” Shakour said.

“There’s a story behind this, and in the end I will be exonerated,” he added.

In the last week, four of Shakour’s top executive advisers have resigned.

Junior Will Donovan, the executive chief administrative officer, said Nov. 8 his resignation was about “more than ideology.” Senior Ellen Wexler, the executive chief of staff, indicated there were a variety of reasons for her departure. Last week, senior Dan Getman, another of Shakour’s advisers, resigned from the cabinet. Over the weekend, sophomore Peter Fu, Shakour’s director of Student Judicial Advisers, stepped down.

All four former Shakour staff members declined as of press time to elaborate on their departures, though some have hinted that the harassment allegations precipitated their resignations.

Shakour said the resignations may have been about “something bigger,” but that ideological differences were the root of the problem.

Shakour’s vice president of undergraduate affairs, John Och, a junior, attributed some resignations to differences of opinion over Shakour’s proposed SA fee increase and frustration over the delay in Shakour’s Colonial Trader Web site.

As some SA senators have somewhat learned of the charges, they are questioning Shakour’s ability to be a student leader and are asking for his resignation. The Senate will convene Tuesday in the Marvin Center. It is uncertain whether Shakour will attend and take questions.

“I wrote a letter to Audai asking him to resign,” said SA Sen. Nick D’Addario (CCAS-U), a sophomore, who has yet to submit the letter to Shakour as of 7:30 p.m. Sunday. “I don’t think he has the ability to lead with this huge cloud over him.”

“He should spare the SA, the student body and himself the outcry from the GW community and just resign,” D’Addario added.

When asked if he is having a problem governing, Shakour replied “absolutely not.” He said he has no plans to step down as SA president.

“I’m going to keep working for students,” Shakour said. “I think we still have the credibility to do so.”

-Ryan Holeywell contributed to this report.

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