The unofficial results for UTMSU’s elections are expected to be released today after two weeks of campaigning involving conflicts of interest, numerous allegations, demerits, and an incident involving Campus Police.
On Wednesday at approximately 2 p.m., a female student was allegedly grabbed by the arm by a UTM Rise campaigner near the polling station in Davis.
The student, who asked to remain anonymous, phoned Campus Police to report the incident but chose not to press charges. The incident was later confirmed by Campus Police.
According to the student, the campaigner involved in the incident was a student from York campaigning for Rise. Rise’s presidential candidate Ebi Agbeyegbe was not able to confirm the identity of the campaigner, but did not believe the individual was a York student.
Following the incident, polls were reportedly closed for approximately 15 minutes while Campus Police and UTMSU’s chief returning officer Ashley Toste spoke with both Rise and UTM Reform in response to the incident.
Assisting the Rise slate was current UTMSU president Hassan Havili, who was one of three campaign managers for the slate.
According to a Facebook post by Rise VP internal candidate Naveed Ahmed, Havili, current UTMSU VP equity Melissa Theodore, and former UTSU president Munib Sajjad were the three campaign managers for Rise.
In an email to The Medium, Toste confirmed that Havili “[took] a leave of absence during the two weeks of elections”.
Over the phone, UTMSU executive director Walied Khogali alluded to a “conflict of interest” as the reason for Havili’s leave, but refrained from providing details, instead directing questions on the topic to the chair of the Elections and Referenda Committee, current UTMSU VP internal Bryan Chelvanaigum.
As of press time, Chelvanaigum had not responded to multiple requests for comment.
Havili also did not respond to The Medium’s request for comment.
Meanwhile, the use of outside campaigners has been a highly contested issue in UTSU elections, as previously reported in The Varsity and The Medium.
Reform also commented on the issue.
“We felt it was an unfair advantage because [members of Rise] were using […] the relations from the union to bring people in,” said Maaham Malik, Reform’s presidential candidate.
Malik informed The Medium that Reform expressed concerns over the use of outside campaigners to Toste, although the UTMSU Election Procedural Code does not prevent a slate from using outside volunteers to campaign for a slate.
According to Agbeyegbe, he estimated that four or five non-UTM students were involved with his slate’s campaign.
For Reform, Malik accounted for one non-UTM student involved in the campaign. According to Malik, the individual is a family member and U of T alum, and assisted behind the scenes.
Unofficial election results were not available by press time, but are expected to be announced today.