For the first time in at least seven years, four full slates and three independent candidates are vying for student votes with hopes to be elected to the UTMSU executive committee for the 2016/17 academic year.

Beginning last Tuesday in anticipation of polls opening this Tuesday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in CCT, Deerfield, Davis, IB, and the Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex, the campaign period immediately followed changes to election rules this year.

Read about the slates here.

Election changes

According to a notice posted on UTMSU’s “Wall of Transparency” located in Davis, a notice board primarily used to list demerit points racked up by candidates during the election, changes were made to rules involving the number of non-UTM volunteers that candidates are able to use to campaign. Not listed in the official UTMSU election procedural code, the new rule was posted on the wall barring candidates from using non-UTM volunteers to campaign on their behalf unless the volunteers were used “in a supporting role”.

As of Friday, however, the rule was crossed out and a notice was posted on the Wall of Transparency explaining that the Election and Referenda Committee approved a change on February 29 that now allows each independent candidate or slate to use five non-UTM volunteers to campaign. Candidates running for a spot on the board of directors are now permitted to use two non-UTM campaign volunteers following the changes.

As previously reported by The Medium, last year’s election between UTM Rise and UTM Reform saw tensions arise between the two slates vying for election as outside volunteers were used to campaign.

Among other changes posted on the Wall of Transparency, current executive committee members “cannot play an active role within the Spring Elections and have no part in the elections process” while executive members are also barred from “support[ing] any team/individual candidates and campaign on their behalf”.

Also reported by The Medium, last year’s election between UTM Rise and UTM Reform saw then UTMSU president Hassan Havili and UTMSU VP equity Melissa Theodore support UTM Rise, the victorious slate. It was also confirmed that Havili had taken a two week leave of absence from office during the elections.

Election paused

On Friday, candidates took the day off from campaigning to show solidarity with UTM Focus as the brother of presidential candidate Ridwan Olow had passed away. In a Facebook post published on Friday morning, UTM Focus thanked fellow candidates for putting their campaigns on hold in light of the news.

“Thank you to folks who have shown their support for our brother Ridwan,” said the statement. “We would also like to thank all teams for taking a day of silence in solidarity with Ridwan.”

Hosted earlier on Thursday in the Blind Duck, the candidate forum offered candidates the opportunity to share their platforms. Candidates then joined The Medium for one-on-one interviews on Friday to discuss their ideas and promises to students if elected.