The CSU meeting on Nov. 13 was taken over by suspicion and scandal when a group opposing the Community Food Coalition’s referendum revealed itself and its website on Twitter.
Concordia Student Union Chief Electoral Officer Andre-Marcel Baril confirmed the site was not approved by the CSU and said it does not comply with electoral campaign standing regulations. According to Baril, the CSU Rules and Regulations for byelections state that you cannot have a campaign opposing a referendum question without the CSU or the Chief Electoral Officer’s approval. However, when questioned, Baril could not provide the specific regulation in which this is stated. The Concordian was unable to find a corresponding regulation that would make a campaign opposing a referendum question illegal or subject to the approval of concerned parties.
Live tweeting directed at the CSU meeting from the Concordia-Vote-No team, using the hashtag #csumtg, caused a lot of commotion, and no one knows who to blame. Speculators were quick to assume VP Finance Scott Carr was the culprit, basing their assumptions on Carr’s open and prominent opinion against the CFC’s referendum. Carr was quick to deny these allegations, publicly tweeting so at the meeting.
Carr later confirmed to The Concordian that he did not create the website and stated: “If you are asking my opinion, I believe the undergraduate students of Concordia deserve to be informed of both sides. I think we should be focusing on what people have to say rather than who is behind it; there is likely to be more argumentation coming from the ‘no’ side, but we will have to stop disregarding them to hear it.”
Supporters and members of the CFC, as well as CSU Chief Electoral Officer Baril, tried to investigate to see if they could uncover who the website’s creators were with little success. The suggested issue for these parties was not that the website voiced an opposing argument, but that it was done outside of byelection campaign standing regulations.
VP Sustainability, Benjamin Prunty was unimpressed with the strategic illegality of the website and its launch. He condemned them on Twitter for relying on illegal tactics and unfounded arguments while claiming to be the harbinger of truth and justice.
Prunty later told The Concordian, “It seems pretty clear who is behind the website and the backdoor campaign, but I hope that the unprofessionalism of one individual does not negatively impact the relationship between the CSU and any other association.”
Despite many speculations, there has not been enough legitimate evidence to link anyone to the creation of the website. CSU Councillor Chuck Wilson encouraged the Vote No Team to step forward, explaining that councillors could likely find a loophole for their having missed the campaign deadline. While the team never publicly came forward, they did anonymously answer questions for The Concordian.
The Vote No Team explained that they had no intention to create a stir at the CSU meeting, but merely wanted to raise awareness about their website, and presumed it to be the best way. The team confirmed they never tried to get the website approved, as they launched the campaign well past the CSU’s limit to register.
“We do not intend to ever reveal our identities,” the Vote No Team told The Concordian. “While we can confirm that we are all Concordia undergraduate students and that we hold positions on various student bodies and fee levy groups, we do not want to risk reprisals on these groups by revealing our identities. Especially after the CSU and the CSU CEO have been trying to hunt us down, and the CFC has tried to shut down our website.”