A member of the Student Association Board of Directors (BOD) told The Spectrum, on the condition of anonymity, the primary reason for SA President Yousouf Amolegbe’s suspension is that Amolegbe planned to host rapper Fivio Foreign at SA’s Trap Fest on the same night he planned to host the rapper for an event hosted by RAGE Boyz Entertainment, a company he is co-CEO of.
Under Amolegbe’s deal, SA would have paid Fivio Foreign $9,500, which would cover his transportation to Buffalo and enable RAGE Boyz to book him for “much cheaper,” according to the BOD member. The deal was stopped before it was finalized. The BOD member said SA and university professional staff stopped the deal, while other officials said Amolegbe stopped the deal. The BOD source claimed the deal constituted a significant conflict because SA would have paid for Fivio Foreign’s transportation, and RAGE Boyz would have been able to host Fivio Foreign for less.
Amolegbe said he booked Fivio Foreign for a RAGE Boyz event on the same night as Trap Fest because Fivio Foreign wasn’t willing to come to Buffalo for the price SA was offering. Amolegbe said he added the RAGE Boyz event to make the trip to Buffalo “more realistic.” The BOD source said the deal constituted a conflict of interest even though it wasn’t finalized. “Once you’re caught trying to do it, it doesn’t really make the situation much better than if you had done it to begin with,” the source said.
The BOD suspended Amolegbe on Jan. 31 but has not announced why, beyond citing a Rules, Administration and Government Oversight committee (RAGO) investigation that found him guilty of conflict-of-interest violations related to SA events. The BOD has to wait until at least Tuesday to vote to publicize the documents related to the suspension, because both the RAGO committee’s investigation and the BOD’s motion for suspension took place during executive sessions and the board didn’t vote to publicize the information during its Jan. 31 meeting. BOD members face removal from their positions if they share information about executive sessions without the BOD voting to publicize that information.
As of Sunday at 8 p.m., 763 people signed a petition Amolegbe created last Thursday urging the BOD to lift the suspension, which it can do with a two-thirds majority vote. The BOD will meet Tuesday and consider recommendations by the RAGO committee to publicize the RAGO committee’s investigation report, provide Amolegbe at least an hour to speak and a resolution to suspend Amolegbe for “clarity,” although he will be suspended regardless of the resolution.
The anonymous BOD member said the RAGO committee found Amolegbe guilty of violations including: DJ Mike West’s appearance at Spring Fest 2019; Amolegbe’s alleged failure to familiarize himself with SA’s conflict-of-interest policy; Amolegbe’s alleged failure to disclose RAGE Boyz as a potential conflict of interest; Amolegbe’s alleged failure to disclose DJ Wire’s alleged affiliation with RAGE Boyz; Amolegbe allegedly booking West for Winter Gala after being informed it would be a conflict of interest; Amolegbe’s failure to disclose West as his roommate and the co-CEO of RAGE Boyz; and Amolegbe’s arrangement with Fivio Foreign.
Amolegbe denies all conflict-of-interest allegations, except his “failure” to disclose West as his roommate and the co-CEO of RAGE Boyz, and said he didn’t think to disclose this because SA hired West before his presidency and SA members knew of West’s association with Amolegbe. Amolegbe said he read SA’s conflict-of-interest policy and that his co-CEO position at RAGE Boyz does not conflict with his SA position. Amolegbe says RAGE Boyz is not affiliated with DJ Wire, who is “just a vendor” the company books, and that he did not select DJs for Gala but the former chief of staff selected West.
The BOD member said Amolegbe’s deal with Fivio Foreign was the “most significant” violation in the RAGO committee’s investigation report.
Another anonymous SA official refuted the BOD source’s claim that SA and university professional staff prevented the deal, saying Amolegbe cancelled the show after the conflict was brought to his attention.
The SA official said SA and university professional staff “did not stop anything" but advised against signing the contract. Amolegbe confirmed this.
The BOD source said Amolegbe claimed he did not read SA’s conflict-of-interest policy and therefore did not know the deal constituted a conflict of interest, although members of SA’s BOD and executive board are required to read the policy.
“He told us that he actually didn’t know that what he was doing constituted a conflict of interest,” the BOD member said. “So it was essentially a plea of ignorance at that point.”
Amolegbe said he read the policy when he started in the position but “didn’t have a full and clear understanding” of the policy at the time.
“Throughout the year, I’ve had to adapt to a very non-traditional approach to learning my role as president, as the fiscal agent transition over the summer didn’t allow the executive board an extensive opportunity to be as versed on incorporation laws and other policies as those in the past have,” Amolegbe said. “Nonetheless, when the conflict was brought to my attention I proceeded to take the necessary actions to eliminate it.”
Additionally, the anonymous BOD member said Amolegbe failed to comply with two of the BOD’s recommendations: refrain from associating SA business with RAGE Boyz and update his conflict-of-interest form.
The BOD source said Amolegbe failed to “refrain from associating SA business with RAGE Boyz” because Amolegbe lists himself as both SA President and CEO of RAGE Boyz on his social media accounts.
Amolegbe claims his personal social media accounts are “completely out of the jurisdiction of the BOD.”
“I’ve never promoted an SA event on the RAGE Boyz page nor have I promoted a RAGE Boyz event on the SA page. For the [BOD] to insist I stop promoting events from both organizations I am a part of is honestly an attempt to strip me of my title and credentials,” Amolegbe said.
Amolegbe’s alleged neglect to update his conflict-of-interest form was a “serious issue,” according to the BOD source. Amolegbe updated his form before the BOD meeting on Jan. 31, but the anonymous source said Amolegbe only updated it “an hour” before the meeting and said that was a problem.
“He [updated his conflict-of-interest form] an hour before the board meeting, which means that through the last week or last few weeks of the semester and over winter break, in which SA is either negotiating or planning contracts with multiple entertainment events, he had not updated his conflict-of-interest form,” the BOD source said.
The BOD’s meeting –– which is open to the public –– will take place Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Capen 567.
Julian Roberts-Grmela is a senior news editor and can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @GrmelaJulian.
Julian Roberts-Grmela is a senior news editor for The Spectrum and an English and philosophy major. His favorite book is “White Teeth” by Zadie Smith and he hopes that one day his writing will be as good as hers.