UPDATED: Public appeal for Students’ Union candidate to occur Tuesday
The Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union board of directors will be holding a public “special board meeting” Tuesday night to discuss a formal appeal from board of directors candidate Anthony Zambito.
These appeals are typically done in-camera by the appeals committee, but Zambito has requested a public appeal for “transparency,” said Colin Aitchison, chair of the board, in the agenda email.
Zambito explained how he wants members of the Students’ Union, as well as Laurier students, to witness an appeals process.
“I feel as if the corporate agenda of the board and the president was impeding the fair trial process of the appeal,” he told The Cord.*
According to the agenda document, the original appeals conversation came from Zambito asking Bianca Anderson, assistant chief returning officer, and Aitchison if he could reallocate his budget for campaign materials to clubs and events. He refers to making a donation to LACC and purchasing tickets to the Laurier Musical Theatre production 9-5. Aitchison and Anderson rejected the request because it wasn’t traditional campaign material and cannot be given out as funding for other campus clubs.
“We felt that donating money to a club which we already fund as a Union as well as reimbursing his personal ticket to go see a musical for entertainment didn’t fall in those requirements,” Aitchison explained in an interview with The Cord.
Zambito’s appeal went to the appeals committee saying since he “wasn’t allocating any of his budgetary allowance on posters,” he could use it in a way that allowed him to engage with the student body in a “friendly manner.” The appeals committee upheld the decision made by Aitchison and Anderson.
“After they started explaining to me their decision I started questioning them, I started saying did the appeals committee take this into account,” Zambito said.
Further, Zambito said he left disappointed from the appeals meeting.
“Last night (Wed the 27th) , I was engaged [sic] with Bianca in an email conversation. from [sic] this conversation, I had expressed my concerns as to the transparency of the Appeal Process. I had also expressed my concerns on the process possibly being biased against my Representative [sic] platform,” Zambito wrote in an email.
Additionally, Zambito is calling Aitchison’s “judgement” into question, saying he may have been biased in the decision making process.
“The issue which you will be voting on today is whether the decision the General Meeting & Election Appeals Committee decided upon will stand, and whether or not I have effectively performed my duties as Chief Governance Officer & Chair of the General Meeting & Election Appeals Committee,” wrote Aitchison in his letter to the board, also stating his “bias has been called into question.”
Though the appeals committee usually has final say, the board will hear Zambito’s appeal on Tuesday to make an ultimate decision.
“As far as I’m aware, we’ve never taken an appeal like this to the board just because of the final say that the policies say from the appeals committee, however I felt after talking to the candidate that clearly he was extremely frustrated and some of the things he pointed out related back to my performance,” said Aitchison.
Karly Gilbert, a student at large, will be the official spokesperson at the board meeting.
*This quote has been changed from its original form.