UTSU elections have already gone amiss

Opposition candidates boycott UTSU elections, alleging challengers were unfairly disqualified


Members of an opposition slate have decided to boycott the University of Toronto student union elections after four of its members were disqualified right out of the gate.

The inexcusable offense? Well, some say the challengers failed to buff their “DEMOCRACY NOW!” pins before the all-candidates meeting, and others allege they were caught with Facebook profile pictures other than the obligatory “shouting into a megaphone” photo required for all UTSU executives. Of course, I also heard something about an envelope being lick-sealed as opposed to tape-shut and murmurs about those students who “hate freedom.”

The official reason, though, and according to The Varsity, is that incorrect student numbers were listed on the nomination forms of the candidates, who are part of the StudentsFirst slate. That is, of the 200 names, student numbers, and signatures required for a successful nomination, there is an error in there somewhere, or so it seems. The UTSU-appointed Chief Returning Officer (no conflict there, right?) has apparently refused to show documents to the disqualified candidates, according to the release posted on their website.

So one of your supporters wrote an extra “2” in her student number by accident while signing your nomination form? Well, sucks for you, stupid! All that money you spent on posters and other promotional material going down the tubes. A pity. Here, cry into this “Working for Students” t-shirt.

But it gets better. Not only were the disqualified candidates barred from the all-candidates meeting (and so, even their nomination forms are later found to be valid, their absence from the meeting would be grounds for immediate disqualification) but so too was the media, according The Varsity. Varsity staffers Andrew Rusk and Tom Cardoso were told to exit the room by a deputy returning officer with a conspicuously absent last name. Then, according to inside sources, The Varsity begrudgingly went to consult with the Glavlit as participants finished up the meeting and staged a public book burning on the University College quad.

Fourteen opposition candidates have since decided to boycott the elections, according to StudentsFirst. “It’s clear that the democratic principle, which the UTSU claims to respect, is not being honoured,” Matthew Gray, (once) presidential candidate for StudentsFirst told The Varsity.  “They’re basically working to stifle opposition.”

Good luck, Matthew. And watch out for unmarked white vans.


UTSU elections have already gone amiss

  1. Good post, Robyn.

    The difficulty with our signatures really relies on such a small technicality, and yet it has such broad implications for the democratic process. Clearly it’s broken.

    I’ll certainly be watching out for the vans ;).

  2. The same thing is happening at campuses across the country.

    Our candidate for V.P. Finance at the University of Ottawa was retroactively disqualified after WINNING the election. Only at Canadian Universities can this happen…

  3. Yes. The whole world is conspiring against the conservatives. This sounds very serious.

  4. The disqualified candidate at uOttawa was not a conservative, and, in fact, helped create the first Bloc Québécois student group outside Québec.

  5. Yes it only happens at Canadian Universities, the world is out to get Canadians and useless University politics. Give your head a shake and read a book.

  6. I agree with the sentiment of the article and of those disqualified, but boycotting was NOT the answer. those who were allowed to run SHOULD have run, and petitioned for impeachment of the CRO of that time. by boycotting they lost more than they gained. It’s the same for those who walk out of meetings that they disagree with. it’s they that lose out.

  7. If only it had been that easy. Even criticising the CRO is a campaign violation, so it’s certainly not possible to impeach him. These disqualifications were, from our perspective, the last straw. It’s worth pointing out that we were later assessed demerit points for describing the disqualifications as disqualifications. As the CRO saw it, no one had been disqualified, only “found to be ineligible to run.” This is the kind nonsense with which any opposition candidate must deal.

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