After a highly contentious election of procedures violations, demerit points overturned by the Elections and Referenda Appeals Committee, and uncertainty among UTM students, each executive candidate from Team Unity was elected to represent members of the University of Toronto Students’ Union.
According to the unofficial results, only about 10% of UTSU’s membership turned out to vote. The vice-presidential candidates from Unity received approximately double the votes received by those from Students First. Independent presidential candidate Rohail Tanoli received about 300 more than the presidential candidate from Students First, Brent Schmidt.
The Board of Directors was split between Team Unity and independent candidates.
Team Unity included three incumbents: VP External Shaun Shepherd and VP Internal Corey Scott of UTSU, and VP External Munib Sajjad of the UTM Students’ Union.
UTMSU volunteers and employees campaigned at the Mississauga campus on behalf of Team Unity, passing out flyers to students wondering what it is UTSU does at the satellite campus.
“I had many unresolved questions that I wanted Unity campaigners to help me with,” said Robert Seredynski, a fourth-year environmental studies student at UTM.
“As I searched for these answers, Unity campaigners began redirecting me to other members. In the end, my questions on Unity’s platform remained unanswered. Unity’s only solution for me was to email them. Unfortunately, this did little to help as the elections drew to a close.”
Students at UTM pay about $60 each year in tuition fees to UTSU, which is based at the St. George campus. UTSU manages the health and dental plan for students at the Mississauga campus. They also claim to lobby for initiatives alongside UTMSU, including parking fees and food diversity.
“UTM is not as heard as it could be within the executive sometimes, or when it comes to the UTSU world, or at St. George itself,” Sajjad said. “I think that UTM should be part of greater U of T, because sometimes UTM students are stuck in their own bubbles here. [UTSU] works with UTMSU and provides institutional knowledge.”
Tanoli spent a day campaigning at UTM, asking students whether they felt that UTSU still has a place at the satellite campus. Students First went relatively unnoticed.
Like many student elections of the past, this one came down to the wire with regards to demerit points. Presidential candidate Shepherd and VP Internal candidate Scott both accumulated 29 demerit points with the rest of their executive candidates at 24. A candidate is disqualified once they receive 35 demerits.
While the Elections Procedures Code provides guidelines for the number of demerits allocated to certain violations, the penalty is ultimately at the discretion of the Chief Returning Officer, Daniel Lo—the person responsible for overseeing the election this year.
The Trinity College Meeting passed a nearly unanimous motion to call for Lo’s resignation. They expressed their dissatisfaction with Lo in a letter to vice-provost Jill Matus, claiming that he failed to remain impartial.
On final day of elections, the Elections and Referenda Appeals Committee—the highest appeals board of UTSU elections—overturned 21 demerit points from Team Unity. This move reinstated Team Unity’s Board of Directors candidates and reduced the demerits against executive candidates to less than 10.
The CRO released more complaints on Saturday and issued a few demerits to executive candidates on Unity.
Lo would not comment on the proceedings of the elections.
The results must be ratified by UTSU’s Board of Directors to be made official.