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Judicial Board Throws out Presidential Veto

by Archives March 24, 2009

The CSU judicial board threw out a veto issued by president Keyana Kashfi on Monday but also overturned the council resolution she had vetoed.
The veto had come just hours before a special judicial board hearing to deal with pressing issues, the day before the election, including over a dozen contestations filed by candidates.
On March 5 council passed a motion setting special rules for the election. Among the requirements were that ballot boxes had be stored with Concordia security and that all moving ballot boxes would have to be accompanied by a security guard.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Oliver Cohen said he would follow the council’s decision.
On Monday CSU president Keyana Kashfi attempted to veto the motion on the grounds that it was illegal.
“The way the motion was written and the way the motion passed was actually breaking our rules.”
But the judicial board, which functions like a court and can overturn decisions made by council and the executive, threw out the veto on the grounds she did not have the power to issue it.
“We voted unanimously that the veto wasn’t the way to go,” said judicial board chair Tristan Teixteira, “it clearly states in the in the bylaws that her veto applies to any individual or group. To put council under the heading of group would be to belittle its power in the CSU, they’re not a group, it’s council. And whenever something affects council, it’s explicitly stated in the bylaws.”
“We don’t believe the check on council should be the executive, the check on council should be the judicial board,” he added.
However the board also struck down the council resolution, on the grounds that it came after the elections had started.
“You have to let his office operate independently, you have to let him do his job, these resolutions, we didn’t find them to be out of line,” said Teixteira. “The timing infringed on the CEO’s jurisdiction”
Presidential candidates from New Union, Vision, Fresh and Decentralization signed a letter supporting the council resolution.
Kashfi also issued a decree with a list of “recommendations” for the CEO. Kashfi recommended that ballot boxes be stored in the CSU office, rather than with security.
But Cohen didn’t thing storing them in the CSU office would be safer.
“I don’t believe that storing [ballot boxes] in the CSU boardroom will in fact maintain the integrity of the election, in fact quite the opposite,” said Cohen. “The security room is very safe, I myself don’t even have a key or access to that room, I can only enter the room with the presence of a security guard.”
He said the decree “raises a lot of questions.”
“Does the executive have better security measures than the university security room? I don’t believe so.”
Because the recommendations are non-binding the judicial board did not strike them down, but emphasized that the CEO did not have to follow them.
The board also off several issues until after the election, council candidate Ethan Cox, who had been disqualified by the CEO, after he had allegedly slandered the “Change” slate by comparing them to Stalin, has been put back on the ballot because he did not have enough time to respond to the allegations. However the board will judge the merits of the case after the election.
“The issue isn’t dropped, it’s suspended,” said Teixteira.
As well the board decided to hold off ruling on over a dozen contestations against the “Vision” slate, filed by “Change.” These allegations will also be ruled on after the election.

– Karen Fournier contributed reporting to this story.

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