Candidates concerned over appeals process

It is only halfway through the 2010 election period and already there have been several problems between candidates and the elections appeals committee.

When nominations closed on Jan. 20 at 12 p.m., only six official candidates were accepted to be in the running for 15 board of director positions in the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union Annual General Meeting on Feb. 4.

“When the nominations came in, we went to validate them, we found there was only six complete director nominations,” said chair of the board of directors and chief governance officer (CGO) S
aad Aslam.

Another issue that arose was a candidate’s appeal that was not sent to the appeals committee.

Director candidate Greg Evans stated that he was given three demerit points for having an active campaign Facebook page, despite the fact that it was from last year’s election.

Evans appealed the decision; however, he said that Aslam neglected to send the appeal to the committee.

“I don’t like it one bit,” said Evans, adding that he doesn’t think this action is legal. The demerit points will stand as a result of Aslam’s decision.

Regarding signatures there were seven directors and one presidential candidate who were told that their nomination packages did not contain the required 100 valid student signatures.

“As far as I knew [the signatures] were all valid. I had a call from [chief returning officer (CRO)] Nicole Rebry that night saying that I had not reached the number of valid of signatures needed.

She said I was missing two,” said board candidate Kyle Hocking. “Obviously I wasn’t very happy, and I made that clear to both Saad [Aslam] and Nicole [Rebry]. I appealed the decision right away,” said Hocking.

Evans noted that he has talked to other directors who had their nomination packages rejected, and they were all told they did not have 100 valid signatures.

“We appealed the decision and it was granted. Everyone’s was granted, and we weren’t required to meet with the appeals committee … because all the complaints were the same,” said Evans.

The candidates received an e-mail on Thursday morning telling them that their appeals had been accepted and they were official candidates.

“What the appeals committee basically decided was that they weren’t missing enough signatures to validate not being legitimate candidates,” said Aslam.

According to Aslam, since there were eight appeals, the committee had to meet to discuss the matter. However, they overturned the original disqualifications.

Director Andrew Fryer, who sits on the elections appeals committee, stated that in the past, the appeals committee has never requested candidate reviews, therefore the same decision was made this year.

Regarding the candidates not needing to re-submit their originally invalid nominations, Fryer stated that “the decision was made that the candidates had proven adequate support to be nominated.”

Evans noted that he was unsure of what the actual restrictions were and what constituted a valid signature.

“It has to be a member of WLUSU; I really don’t know the details,” said Evans.
Aslam explained that the procedure is pretty straightforward. You have to be an undergraduate part-time or full-time student and a member of WLUSU.

“As long as you take one course, you pay a portion of the union fees and are considered a member.”

Hocking noted that he was told that one of his signatures was registered as a part-time undergraduate, but had been singled out as one of his invalid signatures and was therefore unsure of what made it invalid.

“They’re being much stricter this year,” said Hocking. “They went through all the packages and cross-checked everything, so if you were off by even one, that was enough to declare your package invalid.”

“It seems like instead of making it easier for candidates to run, they’re creating more boundaries.”

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