Theatre review: The Government Inspector

The Woodsworth Performing Artist Collective’s debut show draws laughs, shows promise

Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector is often viewed as an entertaining yet enlightening critique on the state of affairs in Imperial Russia. Gogol’s portrayal of the corruption that dominated the country upon the play’s debut in 1836 is hilariously exposed in his satirical presentation of events. For their first production, the Woodsworth Performing Arts Collective (WolfPAC) staged this well-known comedy of errors.

The play features the arrival of a Khlestakov, presumed to be a high-ranking government inspector, into a town full of corrupt politicians, including the governor and his family. The town politicians each attempt to bribe Khlestakov, not realizing he is a travelling trickster.

The three-night showing took place in the Sam Sorbara auditorium at Brennan Hall and featured  a modest set. On Friday night, the audience matched the modesty of the set — not unexpected for a debut performance of a theatre company established this year.

The cast showed great promise with some particularly memorable performances by Christopher Shackleton as the governor, Madeleine Swinkin as his wife, and Chelsea Dab Hilke as the infamous Khlestakov. The entire script of the play stayed true to Gogol and had the audience laughing with its physical comedy. In particular, the characters of Piotr Ivanovich Dobchinsky and Piotr Ivanovich Bobchinsky, two squires played respectively by Lawrence Zhang and Rion Chow, stole the show with their slapstick humour.

After some initial lack of flow in set change, the play picked up and grew more coherent. The actors did an excellent job of using their space to transition from scene to scene, as well as smartly using flashy red papers as rubles to bribe the inspector and make clear to the audience the blatant corruption working within the script.

Not only was the audience amused — the Gogolian messages were also well-articulated. The actors in turn seemed to have fun with the script, staying true to the original material while interpreting a good deal of the play’s physicality and over-the-top nature.

The WolfPAC debut performance shows a lot of promise, gaining the collective some ground in the world of U of T campus theatre.

The rise of Seaway

Ontario pop-punkers graduate from beer-soaked keggers to international tours

Seaway has slowly built a following across Ontario — in the past few years, the band has been in high demand at university campuses, house parties, and local bars. They’re a household name at Toronto venues like Sneaky Dee’s, synonymous with high-energy shows and rowdy audiences. The Ontario locals have caught the attention of fans around the world, resulting in their signing to Pure Noise Records to record a new EP.

How did these house party rookies get to be so well known? Singer Ryan Locke says it didn’t happen overnight: “[T]here was definitely a lot of work that went into it in the beginning… bands would drop our tours. We just kept getting repeatedly screwed.”

Despite Seaway’s rocky start, the band is gaining recognition in Canada and the United States.  With tours with bands like Gob, Bayside, and I Am the Avalanche under their belts, it’s clear that Seaway has worked up a loyal, sizable fan base.

“We kind of knew after a year that people were into it,” says Locke.

The band released a new EP on November 4. All In My Head is their first record with Pure Noise, and they took a different approach to recording than with their 2013 full-length Hoser.

“We… spent a week together writing songs,” says guitarist Andrew Eichinger, adding, “We went into the studio totally prepared. We had a lot of time to experiment.”

Fans can expect a more pop-heavy sound on All In My Head compared to the pop punk energy the band is known for. But Seaway’s extensive planning and experimentation produced a sonically cohesive record that the band is particularly proud of.

“We think they’re the best songs we’ve ever written,” says Eichinger.

Seaway has also tackled social issues with their music before. This past Valentine’s Day, the band released a video for the Hoser track “Slowing Down,” which features an attraction and hook-up between two female roommates. Portraying the band’s view “that all love is equal,” as said in an interview with Alternative Press,  the video also made the track extremely popular, especially at live shows.

“We definitely stand up for things that are important to us personally,” says Eichinger, “but we try to keep things light.”

Seaway started out playing house parties and basement shows, so it’s no surprise that putting on a fun show is part of the band’s philosophy. “When people come to Seaway shows, we expect that they’re there to party and have a good time,” adds Eichinger.

Seaway’s combination of sincere lyricism and wildly fun live shows makes the band a refreshingly genuine addition to the pop punk genre. Pop punk is a genre that is weighed down by unoriginal content, and bands are often criticized for sounding the same as the next.

“We make somewhat of a conscious effort to avoid being too generic in the scene,” guitarist and vocalist Patrick Carleton says.

Locke adds, “It’s also a little bit natural… we’re just playing music that makes us happy.”

The members of Seaway dropped out of university and jumped from job to job in order to keep doing what they love. “With school it’s pretty difficult to be able to focus on [the band]… we’re working our way with online classes,” said Carleton.

Even now, after signing to a major label and a number of tours, Seaway hasn’t yet started to live the high life.  “We’re broke as fuck, basically,” states bassist Adam Shoji.

The band will be spending the month of November touring the US with easycore mainstays Four Year Strong, Transit, and Such Gold. In the new year, they’ll cross the pond for the first time to tour the UK with Neck Deep, Knuckle Puck, and Trophy Eyes.

Contentious board proposal defeated

Tense UTSU AGM ends early following motion to adjourn

Contentious board proposal defeated

After a heated debate, the proposed changes to the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Board of Directors structure were narrowly defeated at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Several other bylaw amendments were passed by omnibus.

Bylaw V, which contains the controversial proposed changes to the Board of Directors structure, and bylaw XI, which governs commissions and committees, were externalized and put to a vote later in the evening.

If passed, the amendments would have granted representation to colleges and professional faculties through a committee, and replaced the current board structure with constituency directors with purview over specific equity-based issues.

Mixed reactions

Students celebrating the defeat of the controversial board proposal motions. SARAH NIEDOBA/THE VARSITY

Students celebrating the defeat of the controversial board proposal motions. SARAH NIEDOBA/THE VARSITY

Following the failure of the motion, several students present at the meeting erupted into loud cheers, while others appeared disappointed.

“I’m feeling relieved, but also saddened, in the sense that knowing this is going to carry on for another year,” said Teresa Nguyen, president of the Engineering Society.

“It’s been such a long battle,” Nguyen added.

Victor Baciu, president of the St. Michael’s College Student Union (SMCSU), left the AGM with mixed emotions.

Baciu said he was glad that Bollo-Kamara brought up the one-year time frame.

“I hope that in the future, [Bollo-Kamara] will consult with us even further and make sure that when the next year comes, we have a board structure that we all feel works the best for all our constituencies and everyone is represented, with college representation that colleges think is fair,” Baciu added.

Bob Parry, New College Student Council (NCSC) president, said that New College has no official stance on the changes.

“It gives us more time to think of alternatives, gives students a full year to consider other options,” Parry said

Bollo-Kamara hinted at more consultations and discussion to come with the formulation of a new Board of Directors structure. “I am glad that we’ve been able to start this conversation about how best the UTSU can represent its members and I’m looking forward to continuing that over the next 12 months,” she added.

Bollo-Kamara was disheartened that much of the evening’s conversation revolved around the board structure proposal and that the meeting adjourned early.

“We didn’t get to talk about any of the other motions that students put forward,” Bollo Kamara said.

Najiba Ali Sardar, UTSU vice-president, equity, did not vote in favour of the proposal. “I do feel like this proposal was flawed in many ways,” she said, adding, “If there is a proposal that is seeing this much backlash from our students, are we really representing our students on-campus?”

Procedural disputes

Earlier in the meeting, Ben Coleman, student governor, motioned to strike a section of UTSU bylaw XVI dealing with omissions and errors.

“In the event that there are any omissions in giving notice to any member, director or officer or non-receipt of any notice when given in accordance with the Bylaws, such errors or omissions will not invalidate any action taken to any meeting to which the notice pertained,” the section that Coleman motioned to strike reads.

“I just want to make sure there’s consequences when there’s an omission of notice,” Coleman said on his motion.

“If the error was made in proper diligence to give notice, then that’s an error that should have consequence,” Coleman added.

Cameron Wathey, UTSU vice-president, internal and services, invited UTSU legal counsel to give an opinion on the matter.

The legal counsel, who was not named, said that in the case that a member brought a non-profit corporation to court due to an omission in giving notice of a meeting, the court would usually decide in favour of the non-profit corporation when best efforts are made to notify all members.

Pierre Harfouche, UTSU vice-president, university affairs, asked the chair how many votes were required to pass each bylaw. Ashkon Hashemi, UTSU chair, said that the voting proportions depend on the nature of the bylaw.

Under the Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act (CNCA), Hashemi said, all bylaws except the one pertaining to representation on the Board of Directors, require a simple majority.

Hashemi said the UTSU is operating under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act as of October 16.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan, chairperson of the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC), said that, if the meeting is being governed under the CNCA, the CNCA requires an agenda. Zoltan-Johan alleged that a transition report from Corporations Canada supported his argument.

Motions for the AGM were presented under an “Order of Business.”

Hashemi responded that the CNCA does not reference an agenda.

Meeting adjourned

The meeting adjourned before the final item on the order of business, a Consideration of Motions Duly Served, was addressed.

The Consideration of Motions Duly Served contained several items dedicated to UTSU activism and advocacy work.

Following the end of the voting on the proposed board structure, Vip Vigneswaran motioned to adjourn the meeting before the final items could be addressed.

“I felt that tensions were high, people were tired, and all the contentious issues that required membership approval had been dealt with,” said Vigneswaran.

However, Victoria College director Zach Morgenstern, who moved many of the initiatives in the final motion, was dismayed at the lack of recognition paid to the projects. The Consideration of Motions Duly Served included a motion mobilizing an anti-war coalition and a motion regarding the Student Commons Management Committee.

“As someone who thinks that the union needs to radically improve its involvement levels, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the AGM audience,” Morgenstern said, adding: “I don’t want to be forever stuck in the trap of getting elected to make rules about elections.”

Since the board structure proposal failed, the UTSU now has one year to put forward and submit a new structure for the Board of Directors.

Full story in print on Monday.

UPDATE: An expanded version of this article can be found here

University alerts students to alleged sexual assault

Suspect described as Caucasian male with short brown hair, approximately five feet nine inches in height

The University of Toronto is urging students, staff, and faculty to be on alert for the suspect in an alleged sexual assault.

According to a community alert sent out to members of the university community at approximately 10:00 pm, a female student “reported that she was touched inappropriately by an unknown male” on the St. George campus around 4:00 pm on Tuesday. The suspect fled.

The university issued a community alert earlier on September 30 regarding the suspect, warning students about “an individual who is exposing himself while on the St. George campus grounds.”

The suspect is described as a Caucasian male with short brown hair, and is approximately five feet nine inches in height.

He was seen wearing a black-brimmed baseball hat with a brown toque over top. He was also seen wearing dark baggy clothing, and is possibly carrying a black knapsack or duffle bag.

Members of the university community are advised not to approach the suspect, and to report any sightings to campus police immediately. Toronto Police are also investigating.

Update (Thursday, October 2): An arrest has been made in connection with the case.

Guide to opt-out fees

Full-time undergraduate students can opt out of certain fees by visiting the UTSU office

Full-time undergraduate students at the University of Toronto pay around $1,000 on incidental, system access, and ancillary fees each year. These fees are used to fund student services and societies. While many fees are compulsory, others are optional. The Varsity compiled a list of fees that full-time undergraduate students may not know they pay and can opt out of between now and October 3.

Health Plan — $73.56
The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) health plan is provided through Green Shield, a national not-for-profit insurance provider. The plan includes coverage for prescriptions, exams, and certain medical equipment. If your parents have insurance through work, you might be covered under them and not need the student plan.

Dental Plan — $66.27
The dental plan is also provided through Green Shield. The plan includes coverage for basic preventative services, restorative services, and oral surgery. If your parents have insurance through work, you may be under their coverage and not need the student plan.

Women’s Centre — $1.50
The Women’s Centre is a not-for-profit, drop-in space for women and trans people that provide resources and information on racism, sexism, health, poverty, and other social issues. They also hold events and classes on topics ranging from cooking to sign language.

Downtown Legal Services — $1.50
Downtown Legal Services provides public education on legal issues, and offers free legal assistance and representation for people that might not be able to afford it otherwise. 

Students for Barrier Free Access — $1.00
Students for Barrier Free Access advocates for the rights of U of T students with disabilities, and aims to eliminate physical and attitudinal barriers on campus for disabled students.

Day Care Subsidy — $0.50
The day care subsidy assists parents, foster parents, and legal guardians of children ages zero to nine with the costs of childcare.

Ontario Public Interest Research Group — $0.50
Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) is an organization that researches and provides public education on social and environmental justice. There are 11 public interest research groups at Ontario university campuses

Orientation — $0.50
Orientation programming includes a variety of events are held to orient and welcome new students.

University of Toronto Environmental Resource Network — $0.50
The University of Toronto Environmental Resource Network is an umbrella organization that aids environmental projects and promotes sustainable practices across the three U of T campuses.

Bike Chain ­— $0.50
Bike Chain is a facility that offers free bicycle rentals, encourages bicycling, and provides hands-on education on bike repair and maintenance.

Sexual Education and Peer Counselling Centre — $0.25
The Sexual Education and Peer Counselling Centre is a drop-in centre that provides educational materials, peer advice, and resources for safe sex.

Cinema Studies Students’ Union — $0.25
The Cinema Studies Student Union represents the university’s cinema studies students, and promotes cinema on campus through events and screenings.

Blue Sky Solar Car Team — $0.13
The Blue Sky Solar Car Team is a multidisciplinary team that designs and builds solar cars and represents the U of T at various events and challenges in an effort to educate students, as well as to advance the field of solar automotive technology.

UTSU election controversy raised at University Affairs Board

Committee rejected motion to delay routine fee increase

On Tuesday April 29, the University Affairs Board (UAB) of  U of T’s Governing Council convened for its penultimate meeting of the school year, during which several student members raised the issue of alleged UTSU misconduct during the recent election.

Student governor Aidan Fishman proposed a motion to delay an fee increase in funding for the UTSU until a decision on UTSU’s alleged election misconduct has been made — a motion that failed ten to five votes against.

Vice-provost, students Jill Mathus, explained to the board that, although they have begun to investigate these complaints, the office of the Provost will first draft a letter to UTSU asking for their comment on the alleged incidents before a decisions will be made. She added that any decision from the administration will be delayed until UTSU has a chance to respond to these allegations.

Vip Vigneswaran, the campaign manager for Team Unite during the election, spoke in favour of a delay in a fee increase. Vigneswaran remarked after the meeting that although the fee increase that UTSU was requesting was procedurally correct he believed that if it had failed, “it would have sent a strong message to the student body regarding the conduct of the UTSU this past year, and their conduct during the election.”

Aidan Fishman echoed these comments, and reiterated his disappointment with the result of this vote. “I was upset initially with the turnout of the vote regarding the withholding of increased funding for the UTSU, although the financial procedure must be respected. It is telling, however, to note that several of the student representatives on the council voted against this increase, displaying a lack of confidence of the council body in the membership of UTSU,” he said.

The rest of the council meeting focused on other student society fees, which were all passed unanimously, as well an annual report from both the provost’s Mental Health Committee and from the Equity Office.

The last UAB meeting of the school year will be held on May 27, at which time a decision from the administration on many of these allegations is expected to be made, along with a final report from the Student Societies Summit.

UTSU board passes major restructuring plan

Board also rejects two outstanding grievances from spring election

UTSU board passes major restructuring plan

The University of Toronto Students’ Union’s board of directors met Thursday to pass dramatic changes to the board’s structure, which would eliminate college and most divisional directors while adding constituency directors to represent marginalized groups. The board also voted to reject two complaints over the union’s controversial spring executive elections.

The board is currently composed of the UTSU executives; Division I directors from each college, the Faculty of Arts & Science, and the Transitional Year Program; Division II directors from the professional faculties; and Division III directors from UTM.

Almost all college and divisional societies — including vocal critics such as Engineering and Trinity, who overwhelmingly voted to leave the union last year — will lose board representation. The only societies that will still have representative directors are the Transitional Year Program (TYP) and UTM.

Under the new structure, the board would be composed of 10 constituency directors, representing international students, LGBTQ students, women, racialized students, indigenous students, mature students, students with disabilites, commuters, athletics, and first year students. The new structure also adds a third at-large director position for both the arts & science and professional faculty positions. TYP will keep its one director, and UTM will now have four directors.

At a meeting of the UTSU’s Policy and Procedures Committee on April 9, Cameron Wathey, vice-president, internal & services, said that the proposal was still in its beginning stages. During the summer and fall terms, union executives plan to consult students’ societies, clubs, and service groups to solicit feedback on the proposed changes.

At Thursday’s board meeting, UTSU president Munib Sajjad said that the changes arose from the need to provide a voice for underrepresented communities.

“We, as directors of the board… could look at how we could be working better to represent students in such a wide diversity of issues,” Sajjad said, adding: “It’s evolutionary. It’s revolutionary.”

A number of college leaders expressed concern over the proposed changes, including concerns over the logistics of electing directors.

“It is disturbing to see how the UTSU has decided to address longstanding concerns,” said Benjamin Crase, outgoing co-head of Trinity College, adding: “The introduction of a pseudo-sectarian structure of governance makes little sense and is very worrisome.”

Rowan DeBues, president-elect of the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC) said that the board of directors is not currently representative enough of minorities and special groups. However, he argued that the proposed board structure would assign voting rights without regard to population size.

“I understand that there are certain groups that definitely need a voice at the table due to the important issues facing them, however there are so many students that may not see themselves as fitting into these criteria,” DeBues said.

DeBues also noted that it is currently the job of college directors to represent constituents regardless of background.

The new board structure also gives the executive director, currently Sandy Hudson, signing authority, and the appointed vice-president campus life a vote on the executive committee. At the meeting Zijian Yang, the only executive candidate from the incument slate to lose, was appointed VP campus life.

The board also voted to remove the requirement for an open nomination process and one-year renewable term for the UTSU speaker. Ashkon Hashemi was reappointed to the role. Hashemi serves similar roles at a number of other unions affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Students and has worked for the UTSU in some capacity since as early as 2002.

Sajjad did not respond to requests for comment. The restructuring motion will now go to the union’s next general meeting in the fall of 2014, for final approval.

The board also voted to resolve two outstanding grievances from the recent UTSU executive election.

Since the elections in March, the union has faced increasing criticism from some students over allegation of systemic unfairness and illegal decision-making during the election.   Recently, some complainants have called on the U of T administration to step in over concerns the UTSU is acting in an undemocratic manner. On March 26, the vice-provost, students, formally requested that the UTSU preserve certain ballot boxes from the election until her investigation of the complaints is complete.

“A student society that so brazenly violates the right of its members to an open, accessible, and democratic students’ union, and that ignores its own constitution, should not receive student fees until it corrects its mistakes through concrete actions” wrote Vipulan Vigneswaran, Team Unite’s campaign manager. Vigneswaran filed two complains over the way the election was run. Both were dismissed at Thursday’s board meeting after a weeks-long grievance process.

At a grievance resolution meeting on April 11, Team Unite agreed to seek a vote of the UTSU board requesting the resignation of the 2014-2015 executive-elect as a resolution to their grievance. At Thursday’s meeting, the board rejected the request.

“The grievance procedure isn’t good at solving things, especially if the speaker says things can’t be changed. It just wasted everyone’s time. Hopefully, we can move forward with [university administration] and a compromise can be reached” said Vigneswaran.

Vigneswaran alleges that the UTSU even violated their own grievance procedure, by telling him he couldn’t speak to the media or university administration about his concerns, and if he did his case would be summarily thrown out. A new grievance procedure was adopted last year and used for the first time in this case. The procedure does not stipulate a requirement not to communicate with the media or university administration.

University administration remains tightlipped about whether they will intervene in the election. “In accordance with the Policy for Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees, UTSU will be provided the opportunity to comment on the allegations and the Office of the Vice-President and Provost will undertake an assessment of the complaint. At this time, it is premature to speculate on potential outcomes,” said Michael Kennedy, a university spokesperson.

Administration asked to intervene over alleged “egregious violations” in UTSU election

Questions remain after union Board of Directors approves election results

Questions continue to circulate about this year’s University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) election, even after the UTSU’s board of directors approved the results. On Monday, April 14 the final report of the Student Societies Summit was sent to Provost Cheryl Regehr citing years of concerns about the way in which UTSU elections have been conducted. The report, which summarizes eight months of discussion by elected full-time undergraduate student society leaders, calls for an independent CRO and an elections appeals body overseen by an expert, such as a retired judge.

The report, while dry, is wide-ranging and explicitly critical of the UTSU throughout — pointing to historical problems that also featured in this years election. For example, an allegedly partial CRO, and an appeals body that some say is too close to the executive slate which includes incumbents. While the report proposes a series of policy changes, under current U of T policy the provost only has one recourse if she believes a student society is not behaving democratically — to withhold funding until the issue is resolved. Both the UTSU and the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) withdrew from the summit.

“It is because the UTSU collects mandatory fees that it is not only accountable to the students, but also to the administration,” said Mary Stefanidis, president of the Innis College Student Society and a participant in the summit. Stefanidis stressed that she believes in the autonomy of student governments, but that when student societies behave undemocratically — as she feels the UTSU has — the administration should step in. “It is when groups do not act in a way which promotes fairness and democracy then I believe it calls for the administration to intervene for the betterment of the students,” Stefanidis added.

Although the UTSU’s board ratified the results of the election, some students remain concerned that the way the elections were conducted violated the UTSU’s own bylaws, and allegedly systematically penalized one slate while helping the other. Vipulan Vigneswaran, campaign manager for Team Unite, which won one of five executive positions, wrote to provost Cheryl Regeher on April 6 requesting that she intervene. Vigneswaran’s concerns include the fairness, legitimacy, and legality of the elections.

One area that Vigneswaran alleges is unfair is the way in which the VP external election was conducted. Luis Moreno, the only independent candidate, dropped out of the VP external race endorsing Team Unite five days before the election. However, his name appeared on the ballot. Requests to have his name crossed out or new ballots printed were refused. Instead, the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) claimed to put up signs indicating Moreno was no longer a candidate. Numerous media reports, as well as eyewitness accounts by Varsity reports, showed that the signs were not up at several polling stations. The race for VP external was extremely close, with Grayce Slobodian from Team Voice edging out Nicky Bhatty from Team Unite by 38 votes. All votes for Moreno, of which several scrutineers claim there were at least 300, were declared as spoiled ballots and not counted.

“It is clear that a series of errors by the CRO, from including Moreno on the ballot to failing to post his withdrawal notice as promised, significantly impacted the outcome of the race for VP, External,” wrote Vigneswaran. His letter also detailed a number of other concerns, such as the decision to add an extra polling station at UTM, which Vigeswaran claims Team Voice knew about but Team Unite was not aware of. Current UTSU president Munib Sajjad has repeatedly said neither side was informed.

After a meeting with UTSU speaker and grievance officer Ashkon Hashemi to discuss his grievance on Friday, April 18, Vigneswaran has declined to provide any further comment. He urged The Varsity to respect the confidentiality of the grievance process.

Following an earlier complaint by Team Unite candidate Pierre Harfouche, who is now vice president, university affairs elect, vice-provost Matus requested that the UTSU seal and preserve the ballot boxes, which would normally be destroyed after the ratification of the election, so that an internal grievance process may take place.

Sajjad was contacted eight times for this article, and publication was delayed on two occasions to provide him with more time to comment.

He has not answered any questions, including whether the ballots have been destroyed.“I have not received an undertaking that the ballot boxes have been sealed and preserved,” said Matus on Friday April 11.

U of T’s Policy for Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees mandates that levy-funded student societies, including the UTSU, “operate in an open, accessible and democratic fashion and following the terms of its constitution.” In an e-mail to The Varsity, Matus said that the university administration has no wish to intervene, but may do so if the UTSU does not meet the standard set by the policy.

Vigneswaran filed a separate complaint on April 4 with Hashemi over the conduct of the Elections and Referenda Committee (ERC) throughout the election.

In response to Vigneswaran’s allegations, Sajjad, who is chair of the ERC, sent back a detailed letter in which he rejected the accusations. The Board of Directors ratified the election results at the board meeting on March 28, where Sajjad agreed that the decision to extend voting hours at UTM on Friday, March 14 was a violation of the bylaws, claiming that this violation was necessary under the circumstances. UTM was closed early on March 12 due to severe weather. However in the letter Sajjad claimed no bylaws were broken.

“We would like the Union to address that its bylaws were broken and either do a recount and discard ballot boxes from polling stations that were in violation of the EPC and Bylaws, or for the Board to appoint interim executives for the summer, so that a by-election for all executive positions can be held in the Fall term,” Vigneswaran said. Sajjad wrote to Vigneswaran that his proposed solutions are not viable, as the ERC does not have the authority to call another election or to discard ballots from an election that has already been ratified.

The only communication from Sajjad to The Varsity was a claim that he could not comment as a new grievance procedure that the UTSU is following precludes publicly discussing the grievance. To The Varsity’s knowledge, this grievance procedure has not been used in the past. Sajjad did not reply to questions regarding his communication with vice-provost Matus, nor did he address why the UTSU is following a new procedure or when or how it was approved.

UTSU speaker Ashkon Hashemi similarly declined to comment in a lengthy response citing a number of best practices for organizations resolving disputes between employees, or union and management. He also did not address when or how the union’s procedures changed.

“The response from the ERC, or specifically the ERC Chair, was an inadequate one. We did not feel that they satisfactorily addressed our issues, let alone if they understand what the problems with the elections were,” Vigneswaran said.

Ben Crase was one of the few UTSU directors who opposed ratification of the election results: “The electoral violations simply reflect the systematic problems that continue to plague the operations of the UTSU. These types of egregious violations persist year after year, and only the University administration can put an end to it.”