According to UTMSU, a human error on the part of a member of UTMSU staff, which was “expedited by miscommunication with staff of the University of Toronto”, resulted in both the decision not to ratify the results of the Student Centre expansion referendum and the resignation of the UTMSU staff member.
In a press release, UTMSU said that the members of the elected UTMSU Board of Directors, in consultation with its Elections and Referenda Committee, have decided not to ratify the results of the referendum held from January 29 to 31.
On February 1, a day after the referendum ended, members of the Elections and Referenda Committee were informed of “administrative errors that impacted the verification of eligible voters”. UTMSU alleges that they tried to fix the problem; however, five days later, on February 6, it was concluded that it would not be possible to fix the problem while maintaining the privacy of those who voted.
Babatumi Sodade, the chief returning officer who was allegedly responsible for the human error that resulted in the non-ratification of the results, has resigned.
“It was a miscommunication between the CRO staff of UTMSU and the school administrators,” he said in an interview. “Because of the administrative error, we couldn’t ratify the results. I’m not too sure about what happened, but the fact is there was an error somewhere that called the referendum into question. So we can’t ratfiy it. That would throw the whole integrity of the referendum into question.”
The university has communicated to UTMSU that the match of $2 million is secure pending a successful ratification of the referendum to expand the Student Centre.
“The plans to expand the Student Centre will be kept on hold until a successful referendum is held and the results are duly ratified by our elected Board of Directors,” said Chris Thompson in the press release. “I am glad that the university has communicated to UTM students that they are supportive of the project and will continue to invest in expanding student space.”
Thompson was not available for comment.