The CSU’s Judicial Board rejected an appeal Sunday of a challenge filed by two students who took issue with the November by-election. Tristan Teixtera, Chair of the Judicial Board, said the Board refused to entertain the contestation because not only had it been filed too late but also, Daniel McSharry and Chadi Marouf were contesting the election itself. According to Teixtera, the Board could only hear an appeal to the decision by Chief Electoral Officer, Jason Druker, to reject the contestation.
Instead, McSharry and Marouf filed their 60-point contestation with the Judicial Board. They alleged that the Concordia Student Union’s (CSU) Standing Regulations were violated and that Druker had run an election with “procedural defects.”
They asked that the election be annulled, which would have voided the Concordian’s fee levy increase and the CSU’s proposed changes to their bylaws.
McSharry ran in the election but lost his bid for a seat on council. He and Marouf said they filed their argument within the required seven days, after the election results were posted on the CSU’s website.
But Noah Stewart, VP Communications for the CSU, argued that Druker had announced the results of the election immediately following the ballot count and that the start of the seven-day countdown started then. McSharry had been at the ballot counting and, as “one of the contesting parties, it’s pretty clear [McSharry] knew the results,” said Stewart. “He can’t in any kind of good conscience argue that he did not know the results. To try to use some kind of . argument about how the announcement didn’t happen until later really goes against the spirit of the regulations.”
Marouf said that no student who wanted to contest the election would have been aware of the results, which were announced around 2 a.m.. He argued that the time when the election results could be noted and thus contested would begin then next day, when they were posted on the CSU’s website.
McSharry and Marouf contend that all four referendum questions provided too much information and contained an argument so as to bias the electorate. They also say campaign posters were within sight of the voting booths and that information clarifying the vote to change the CSU’s by-laws was not posted early enough on the CSU website.
Their contestation put special emphasis on question number four which, among other things, included the CSU’s building fund. They took issue with the fact that it made no mention of the proposed increase of the CSU’s maximum holdings from $2 million to $50 million in real estate.
As the question instead asked students only whether they “agree to some minor by-law changes” which will help make the CSU “more accountable and transparent,” Marouf and McSharry claim that it was “misleading, prejudicial and fraudulent.”
“I basically want to make sure the CSU follows the rules,” said McSharry. “It’s not really [about] the results themselves. If there’s even one infraction that occurred then the results shouldn’t be valid. Part of the situation is that we have over twenty infractions and we don’t think the [results] should be valid.”
Although the contestation was still pending, the results of the by-election were ratified by the University’s Board of Governors on December 14. The Board voted to collect the money from incoming winter semester tuition fees, but will hold the money in a trust until the contestation is resolved.
– with files by Ben Ngai