After receiving news from the university that the wrong voter list was used, the UTM Students’ Union will run another referendum for the Student Centre expansion campaign.
UTMSU used a T-Card scanner which was loaded with data for the UTSU November AGM, according to the office of the Vice-Provost, Students. Since St. George students were included on this list, this would have allowed students from the downtown campus to vote in the UTM referendum. St. George students are not members of UTMSU and would not incur the relevant tuition increases to finance the expansion.
While the university made a list with appropriate voter verification information available to UTMSU, the office of the Vice-Provost alleges that this list was not picked up or used.
The error was caused by the chief electoral officer — the employee responsible for overseeing the logistics of the referendum process — and was “expedited” through miscommunication with university staff, according to UTMSU. CEO Babatumi Sodade resigned from his position.
On the final day of voting, January 31, UTMSU reported that they received a phone call from UTM’s dean of student affairs informing them of the discrepancy. The student union released the results of the final vote count on February 3. UTMSU then issued a press release on February 9 to announce the error.
Student union executives contacted the office of the Vice-Provost, Students for solutions to the error, according to UTMSU. Executives were informed that university administrators could not manually remove St. George students from the list without compromising the privacy of voters.
Since the Board of Directors could not ratify the results of the referendum, UTMSU plans to hold a commission meeting after Reading Week to consult stakeholders on whether a second referendum should be held this March or in the fall.
While UTMSU budgeted $5,500 for the campaign in January, president Chris Thompson alleges that union did not use the full amount.