The Faculty of Health Sciences Students’ Council presidential elections have been deemed invalid and rescheduled for after Reading Week.
The University Students’ Council governance officer, Kojo Hayward, and chief returning officer, Pashv Shah, made the decision after a candidate’s disqualification, and subsequent removal from the ballot, was overturned.
Fazi Toor, one of three presidential candidates, was disqualified late Monday night due to allegedly hiding campaign overspending. He appealed this decision and won based on technical interpretations of the USC’s by-laws.
Instead of being disqualified outright, Toor was assessed 19 demerit points, just one short the 20 required for automatic disqualification for accumulation of demerit points.
Toor exceeded his budget by using Facebook ads for several days after he had already nearly maxed out his budget on printing campaign materials at Creative Services. The decision to disqualify him and to assess 19 demerit points was based on this overspending.
His appeal was won because he used a donated coupon to pay for the ads and he didn’t pay for it out of pocket. Under the USC by-laws, he exceeded the spending limit because all campaign related costs are assessed at fair market value.
Along with Toor, the other presidential candidates, Maha Hassan and Morgan Jennings, will be able to start campaigning again next Friday at midnight until Tuesday February 24 at 7 p.m. Voting will be from 7 p.m. Tuesday to 7 p.m. Wednesday. They will also be allowed to spend an extra $50 due to the extended time period.
Hassan said she was disappointed by the delayed elections but will do her best given the unusual circumstances.
“I am disappointed but at the end of the day, I am doing this for the students and my faculty,” Hassan said in an e-mail. “I am going to give it my all regardless of the situation and the decision made by the Governance department.”
Toor and Jennings could not be reached for comment by press time.
Shah noted that demerit points could still be given and the period until February 19 would be considered pre-campaigning if candidates were to campaign during that time.
“It can get a little messy over Reading Week, hopefully they don’t campaign or slander each other over Reading Week because things will get heated because of the disqualification and the confusion associated with it,” Shah said.
Hassan expressed disappointment at the delay in voting because of the confusion surrounding Toor’s actions.
“The delay is of course disappointing and to an extent unreasonable,” Hassan said. “I believe that the way a candidate runs [their] campaign is the way [they] will run council if elected and that is concerning.”
Hassan said she was focused on ensuring that voter turnout would be unaffected and the by-election would be fair.
“I am going to try my best from February 21 to 25 to ensure that students know about the re-vote,” Hassan said. “I am running for the students and that is still my main focus and will always be regardless of the back-door politics.”