The Bosnitch Era That Changed The Face of Student Government At UNB

By André Faust

UNB’s history of the events that occurred between 1982 and 1986 consists of misinformation and half-truths, which does not reflect the reality of the time. Instead, the writers focused on demonizing the Student Union and its president John Bosnitch and idolizing UNB’s Barry Manilow’s look alike President James Downey.

What UNB’s history books fails to mention is how President Downey extorted 10.00$ from each student which total 50,000$ plus. The 10.00$ was supposed to be a voluntary donation from the students at registration to donate to the 21st century fund, it was not mandatory, however the students were never told that it was a voluntary donation so every student contributed to the fund. The Bosnitch administration discovered the fraud and forced UNB to payback 50,000$ back to the students. The 50,000$ was given to the student union to give back to the students.

As part of the smear campaign to discredit John Bosnitch and Student Union allegations were made that the Union never forwarded the money back to the Students. Following an independent audit, it was found that the Student Union had paid every student their 10.00$ that the UNB administration took from them.

During the early eighties sexual assaults were common on a pathway between Saint Thomas and Student Union building, the path was referred to as rape row, it was the Bosnitch administration the put the pressure on UNB to install lights along rape row to discourage further assaults.

What made Bosnitch and his student council different from previous student council is that he was the first to go toe to toe with the administration. In other words “played hardball with President Downey.”

The conflict between the Student Union and the UNB administration hit is apogee is when Bosnitch revived CSL (Campus Service Ltd). CSL offered services to students that were in competition with other established business who were paying nominal rent and gouging students, for example the convenience store that was operating a sister store at the mall was charging students 10% more on campus then their sister off campus store.

The owners of the business threaten to sue UNB because they lost their exclusivity while CSL was competing against them. This may have been the tipping point that sealed the faith of Bosnitch and his council. Following the threats, UNB launched a remove Bosnitch and Council by any means necessary, even if it met breaking the law.

Below in an information bulletin published in 1987 gives a detail account of what transpired when Downey unlawfully shut down the UNB Student Union Inc.


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