USC vice-president elect Landon Tulk has responded to an earlier Gazette article reporting on Facebook messages between Tulk and councillors, allegedly attempting to influence their votes in the student programs officer (SPO) elections.
The Facebook messages revealed the incoming executive asking certain councillors to not vote for candidate Harry Orbach-Miller or offering a voting list ranked with their preference.
Tulk sent the Gazette a statement which is posted below.
In an interview with the Gazette, Tulk admitted that he "likely shouldn't have said that."
“I actually reached out to a couple of those councillors that I had engaged in conversation with around this and apologized for my actions and made clear that I’m looking forward to rebuilding a working relationship and sitting down with them in the new future to discuss any ramifications of this," Tulk said.
"I think, for the most part, they were all quite receptive actually of that proposal.”
He commended Orbach-Miller's work as a student leader on campus and said in retrospect he should not have made comments about him in the messages.
However, Tulk didn't confirm if he would reach out to Orbach-Miller himself in the aftermath of the revelations; instead, he said he would be willing to sit down for a discussion if Orbach-Miller is open to it.
"The last few months have been a whirlwind. As a team, we were put under a lot of stress and pressure. For the most part, we are incredibly proud of our behaviour and resiliency through our own election and the appeals. However, recently, we have been under the most stress that we have throughout this entire process.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have been in the process of hiring the secretary-treasurer and communications officer. We chose two incredibly talented, dedicated individuals, who wholeheartedly believed in us and our vision for the future of the USC.
However, throughout this process, we still knew that there was one position left to be filled, that of the student programs officer. Having met with all of the candidates we were confident that out of a pool of diverse and dedicated individuals, that Mac McIntosh was the most qualified candidate for the student programs officer position. We were incredibly excited that this realization would also reach council, and we would have a cohesive executive team that would work together and supports each other in our shared vision for the direction of the USC.
We are embarrassed, remorseful, and incredibly apologetic about trying to influence councillors' votes. After months of elections with the intense pressures that come with that, we are terribly sorry that we let our stress get the better of us. The fear of not having a cohesive, supportive team got in the way of our respect for council and the democratic process. We should have had faith in our council in their choice for the most qualified candidate.
We regret any bad faith this may have created between the executive, the incoming council, and students-at-large, and we are committed to repairing this in the weeks to come to ensure a productive and enjoyable year for everyone."
— Landon Tulk