After two days of online bickering, insults and threats, former transportation coordinator Chandra Kethi-Reddy aired his grievances against Student Government President Nick Larkins at Thursday night’s senate meeting.
In a 27-minute speech, who promised to “expose issues of institutional racism, a hostile work environment” among other allegations, Kethi-Reddy said little that expanded on what was already said in Facebook posts and a website dedicated to outlining his complaints.
He did, however, mention several incidents involving Larkins verbally abusing him, including one where Larkins allegedly banged his fists against a desk and said, “Why are you not compliant?”
“I am not here to ruin the reputation of Nick Larkins,” Kethi-Reddy said. “However, I do not believe he is temperamentally fit to be in this position.”
Regarding SGA adviser and Office of Student Involvement Director Shane Juntunen, he accused the former of interfering with the affairs of student organizations. Sandra Briggs, OSI’s office manager, was accused – according to a website created by Kethi-Reddy – of creating “a hostile work environment and a long history of intimidation.”
Neither Juntunen nor Briggs have responded to requests for comment.
Kethi-Reddy also mentioned what he called a “fratriarchy” controlling student government. He did not go into detail in his speech, but he told Knight News after the meeting that he was referring to the “systemic advantages” given to students who join Greek organizations, one example being the shuttles servicing mostly Greek houses, a platform point by Larkins’ presidential campaign.
He also made accused SGA of engaging in “institutional racism,” saying that Larkins’ administration did not consider a single person of color for a cabinet position. This was incorrect, since Larkins did nominate Bonsu Appou, a black student, for a position in his executive cabinet.
Kethi-Reddy did clarify, saying that he was not calling Larkins or any other SGA or UCF official a racist.
Larkins, for his part, laid out a brief rebuttal to Kethi-Reddy following the latter’s speech, first by apologizing for since-deleted Facebook posts which detailed what he claimed were reasons for firing Kethi-Reddy from his post in the cabinet.
“It was a mistake, unprofessional and not very presidential,” Larkins said, while subsequently noting that “it doesn’t make [the statement] any less true.”
He also rejected “any statement that [Kethi-Reddy] was fired for his race.” Kethi-Reddy, however, did not say race was the reason for his removal.
The president also read out an email between him and Kethi-Reddy in which the former transportation coordinator apologized for not serving his role “with the professionalism it deserves.”
“I told him what he wanted to hear,” Kethi-Reddy told Knight News. “He has serious insecurities.”
Following a brief speech, Larkins said he would not take any questions from senators or the press about Kethi-Reddy nor would he be mentioning his name for the remainder of his presidency.
Kethi-Reddy told Knight News he plans to file an affidavit calling for Larkins resignation, and that he may pursue bullying charges against the SGA president with the Office of Student Conduct.
“I believe as more details about this happening come to light, if anyone is in the senate doesn’t agree with me, they will,” Kethi-Reddy said.
Larkins declined to speak with Knight News about the pending impeachment affidavit and bullying complaint.
While this public fight between Larkins and Kethi-Reddy brought SGA a lot of attention, some senators believe it is over shadowing the work they do, and is making SGA look like a joke.
“This seems immature,” Sen. Spencer Lasday, who represents the college of business, said. “Doing this in this way brings down the work we do.”
The speeches at the meeting followed shots traded on Facebook, which began when Kethi-Reddy announced Tuesday that he had resigned from his post on his personal profile page, saying the next day that he was “planning to go full savage.”
Larkins then posted, first to the official student government Facebook page and later to the “Nick and Cristina” campaign page, a statement saying that Kethi-Reddy had been fired and outlining the reasons why, which include an incident where Kethi-Reddy verbally abused an executive board member of the homecoming committee and another where he was caught sleeping in his office during working hours.
“He never said the words ‘fired’ or ‘terminated’ to my face,” Kethi-Reddy said. “Just that he wanted to part ways. I resigned.”
Both of Larkins’ posts were later removed after commenters expressed disgust with the “unprofessional” and “unnecessary” nature of the strongly-worded statement.
On his own Facebook page, Kethi-Reddy continued to mention the need to go public with his grievances and announced what he was going to say at the senate meeting. Hours before the meeting, he unveiled a website calling for Larkins’ impeachment and the resignations of Juntunen, the OSI director, and Briggs, its office manager.