When Albert Delitala approached UTMSU President Wasah Malik about the possibility of support or endorsement, he had good reason to expect a positive response: he is the only student from UTM running for the Governing Council election. My impression afterwards was that they [UTMSU] did not endorse candidates, which would make sense given their monopoly over campus advertising, explained Delitala in an interview with The Medium. I mistakenly believed they would do the right thing and remain impartial.
According to Delitala, during the course of the campaign UTMSU not only supported two candidates, they also allowed them to operate outside the established guidelines of the election by putting up far more posters and flyers than any other candidate was allowed. Mass messages on Facebook were circulated last week by UTMSU VP Campus Life Johnny Ho, reminding hundreds, even thousands of UTM students to Vote for Kyle Boyko and Andrew Agnew-Iler on ROSI today for Governing Council of U of T, and Vote ‘No’ to deregulation and unjustified tuition increases. Delitala attempted to contact Ho about this apparent sign of support for his competitors, but received no response.
When asked to respond to these charges, UTMSU President Malik disagreed that supporting Governing Council candidates is not within the mandate of the UTMSU. The Governing Council is the highest decision making body that makes various decisions for students, such as passing tuition fee increases. He added that the Student Unions mandate is to represent its constituency and to secure students interests that would be beneficial in allowing students to succeed academically and socially.
That being said, Malik pointed out that there was no candidate officially endorsed by UTMSU for Governing Council. However, there was a Facebook message sent through the UTMSU group reminding students to vote for the Governing Council elections for specific individuals, Malik acknowledged. I would like to apologize on behalf of the UTM Students Union as such messages should not be sent without formally passing motions at a meeting.
This concession may not be enough to satisfy Delitala, however. The UTMSU abused its power by explicitly favouring two of the candidates and allowing them to grossly exceed the posting limit, Delitala declared. I believe the actions taken by UTMSU this past week violate even their own rules.
Results of the governing council elections will be released to the public on Thursday, March 26 at 3 p.m. Students can access the results on the governing council website, www. governingcouncil.utoronto.ca.