The appeals committee upheld the three demerit points awarded to Yousuf Ahmed following the 2016 USC elections, in a decision released on Thursday night.
Ahmed appealed the demerit points awarded after the elections governance committee found his decision to offer his personal course notes over Facebook in violation of the doctrine of fair play, as it gave him in an unfair advantage in his campaign for science councillor.
Ahmed's representative, Matt Helfand, argued the elections governance committee erred in its decision on the basis that offering notes did not constitute an unfair advantage and that it was unreasonable to apply the doctrine of fair play.
In both cases, the appeals board sided with the EGC.
The judgement reads that by offering course notes, Ahmed is offering items of value to induce voter support.
Additionally, the decision asserted that it was appropriate to apply the doctrine of fair play.
"While an 'unfair advantage' is not expressly defined in the statute, it is reasonable to believe that an unfair advantage could be created by Ahmed when he offered items of valuable consideration to a specific subset of the voter population," the decision read. "Other candidates may not have the same resources to offer this specific subset of voters. By providing a certain advantage through his use of personal resources, Ahmed gained an unfair advantage over other candidates."
Chief returning officer Andrew Chorney was pleased with the decision to uphold the demerits.
"This decision also sets an extremely important precedent that a candidate's misconduct does not necessarily need to be explicitly outlined in a provision of by-law 2 in order for the EGC to sanction the behaviour," Chorney said in an email. "It is reassuring to know that the the EGC can utilize by-law 2's fair play provision, where appropriate, to ensure candidates are conducting themselves in a manner that is consistent with by-law 2's mandate of ensuring fairness and democracy in USC elections."
As a result of the demerits, Ahmed will receive a deduction of $18 on the bond he submitted upon running for science councillor.
Helfand declined to offer a comment on the decision. Ahmed was unable to be reached for comment at the time of writing.