Written by Matthew Lapierre and Étienne Lajoie
CSU judicial board to hold a hearing on April 6 to address the ruling
Speak Up, the slate whose candidates won the most votes in every position for which they ran in the CSU executive elections last week, was disqualified by Nicholas Roberts, the union’s chief electoral officer (CEO) on Friday afternoon, while the votes were still being tallied.
In the unofficial results released by Roberts on his personal Facebook page, candidates from the Accessibility, Transparency and Community slate (ACT) were tentatively announced as elected to all of the executive positions.
According to John Hutton, Speak Up’s candidate for finance coordinator, the slate will be contesting the disqualification. According to the unofficial results announced Friday, Hutton received 515 votes compared to the closest runner-up, Nichita Bobic, who had 335. In an email to The Concordian, Safa Sheikh, a member of the CSU’s judicial board, said the board will have a hearing on April 6 to discuss the disqualification.
On Friday, March 30, Roberts sent an email notifying candidates in the election of his decision to disqualify Speak Up. He based his decision on an editorial endorsing Speak Up published by The Link on March 27, the day polls opened. Roberts also claimed an email he received from The Concordian’s reporter asking if he had informed Speak Up of the location of the ballot counting was proof that Speak Up had communicated with student media during the polling period. The Concordian did not publish any correspondence with CSU candidates during the polling period.
Roberts cited article 316 of the CSU’s standing regulations: “No new correspondence between candidates or referendum committee members and student media can be published during the polling period.”
Roberts alleged in the email that Speak Up must have been aware of The Link’s editorial and that the editorial was considered unapproved campaigning.
In an article published Friday, The Link wrote, “Despite Roberts’ claims, The Link did not correspond with the Speak Up slate regarding the endorsement. The decision to endorse or not endorse specific candidates is made by The Link’s editorial team alone, without input from outside parties. Decisions are then kept secret until editorials are published.”
According to the unofficial results, the next CSU executive team will be composed of Andrei Bochis, Daniel Jolicoeur, Nichita Bobic, Myriam Bourgeois, Jamie Lewis Mella, Vivi To, Lida Sonylam Aman and Gabriel-Louis Guppy.
Bochis and To were all previously members of the Concordia Model UN delegation. Bochis, the unofficially elected CSU general coordinator, acted as president of the delegation. In an interview with The Concordian, Bochis said he firmly believed Concordia students would see “a lot of positive change in the upcoming year.” The unofficially elected general coordinator said his team would focus on unfinished projects, like the CSU daycare, which current general coordinator Omar Riaz said would open in March. Bochis added that the CSU needs “to focus on transparency and on fostering trust within the organization.”
Referendum questions approved
All four of the CSU’s referendum questions were approved by voters.
One dollar per credit will continue to be given to the Library Services Fund, which allows 24-hour access to the Vanier and Webster libraries and various services, including laptop and tablet lending and access to course reserve textbooks.
An increase in the fee levy for Concordia’s co-op bookstore was also approved by voters. The fee will increase from $0.10 to $0.14 per credit for every undergraduate student starting in the fall of 2018.
Voters confirmed the CSU’s motion for a two-round voting system to be used if the student union has to internally elect a candidate to fill a vacant executive position.
Concordia voters also approved the expansion of club and student spaces.
Student Life Coordinator
External Affairs and Mobilization Coordinator
April Tardi Levesque
Felicia Da Conceicao
Akira De Carlos—Disqualified
Sebastien Martinez De La Garza
Academic and Advocacy Coordinator
Lida Sonylam Aman—Elected
Internal Affairs Coordinator
Fatoumata Binta Balde
Library Services Fund Fee Levy—PASSED
Do you agree to contribute $1 per credit to the CSU for the Library Services Fund for the next ten years (2019-2029), in order to maintain and increase existing services funded through the Library Services Fund? The contribution would be collected in accordance with the university’s tuition and refund policy.
Two Round Electoral System—PASSED
Do you as a CSU member agree with adding by-law 7.3.2 such that the Concordia Student Union Council establish an internal Two-Round Electoral System when voting on vacant executive seats?
Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore Fee Levy Increase—PASSED
Do you agree to increase the fee levy of the Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore by $0.05 per credit to a total of $0.14 per credit, effective Fall 2018?
Expanding Campus Space—PASSED
Do you support the CSU expanding and improving student spaces for clubs on campus?
CEO barred candidates access to ballot counting
The Concordia Student Union’s chief electoral officer (CEO), Nicholas Roberts, barred candidates from witnessing the election ballot count and tried to prevent student media from interviewing a candidate who had not been allowed in the room on Friday, March 30.
According to chapter four, section nine of the CSU’s standing regulations, candidates are allowed in the room to witness the ballots being counted.
On the morning the votes were counted, Patrick Magallanes, a sitting councillor from the Faculty of Arts and Science who was running for re-election, and John Hutton, Speak Up’s candidate for finance coordinator, were present to oversee the counting of the ballots in addition to a reporter from The Concordian. Roberts allowed Hutton and the reporter into the room, but told Magallanes he was not allowed to enter. When The Concordian reporter tried to leave the room to ask Magallanes why he wasn’t allowed in, Roberts told the reporter that if he left the ballot counting room, he would not be allowed back in.
“Either you’re in or you’re out,” Roberts said. He refused to comment or answer any questions concerning the incident.
Magallanes later told The Concordian that Roberts denied him access to the room on the basis that, if he were allowed in, then Roberts would have to allow other candidates in as well.
“This, in my mind, is an abuse of the power that he has,” Magallanes said. “It made me feel emotionally upset.”
Magallanes said he felt his rights as a candidate were violated because he was not allowed to witness the ballot count. He requested a ballot recount but received no response from Roberts. He said that if Roberts did not respond to him by April 2, then Magallanes would file an official complaint against him with the CSU’s judicial board.
Although Hutton was allowed in the room, Roberts did not allow him to approach the ballot counters or scrutinize any ballots. According to Hutton, the Speak Up candidates wanted to have more people witness the ballot counting, but Roberts notified them that only one member of each slate would be allowed in the room because there wouldn’t be enough space. The ballots were counted in H-535, an auditorium with approximately 100 seats. At least 75 seats were empty while the ballots were being counted.
Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth
* A previous version of this article stated that Lida Sonylam Aman had been a member of the Concordia Model UN delegation. This is inaccurate and we regret this error.