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.