Update 7:35 pm: Following her exclusive interview with The Varsity this afternoon Candi Chin-Sang has posted an open letter to Facebook detailing her concerns. The letter is visible here.
University College director candidate for the U of T Voice Candi Chin-Sang is withdrawing her candidacy, alleging that the U of T Voice misrepresented her in their promotional materials, and willfully suppressed her individual opinions. Chin-Sang is endorsing Team Unite.
Chin-Sang is a third year student, majoring in criminology and equity studies. “I was approached by them awhile ago,” she said. “They pitched it to me that I would be a connecting force between the UCLit and the UTSU.”
On the morning of Monday, March 3, Chin-Sang saw campaign posters around campus that, she says, weren’t at all what she had been expecting. “I wasn’t consulted at all about the content of the posters — but since I’d discussed my platform points with [the U of T Voice], I thought they would represent me.” Chin-Sang alleges that the first point on her poster is an exaggeration, the second is true but not in her own words, and the third is entirely fabricated.
The first point reads that Chin-Sang will “Continue to lobby the university for the preservation and expansion of the Transitional Year Program.” Chin-Sang says that she has never been involved with the campaign to save TYP, although she does support it. “I’ve had equity studies classes where I’ve been told of the TYP and it’s importance, but I’ve never lobbied for it. It’s offensive to the people who fight for the TYP, I’ve never met them. I only know about it because my professor lobbied for it,” she explained.
The second platform point reads “Develop orientation guides, resource banks and directories for incoming and returning students,” which Chin-Sang acknowledges is part of her platform, though not in her own words.
The third states, “Work with campus groups to fight all forms of discrimination and build safer space on campus.” Chin-Sang claims that this last point is completely untrue, and something that she never discussed with the U of T Voice team.
Chin-Sang took her concerns to Corey Scott — former two term UTSU vice-president internal — who is helping with the campaign. She explained that she does not know Scott’s official role in the campaign, but that U of T Voice meetings were held with him and former UTSU president Danielle Sandhu in attendance. “I honestly have no idea what position anyone is in,” said Chin-Sang. “When we go into a meeting, we’re not really told who Danny is, who Corey is, they have no official title, we’re just supposed to accept their authority.”
Chin-Sang says she approached Scott in person, at first just asking to see the posters, before raising her concerns with them. After being shown the posters she says she voiced her concerns and asked for the information to be corrected. She says Scott assured her that the changes would be made immediately on the U of T Voice website, and that the posters would be reprinted. When Chin-Sang asked when she could expect to see the reprinted posters, she says Scott replied that they would be reprinted a week later — near the end of the campaign period.
When asked for comment on the matter Scott defined his role with the U of T Voice team as that of a “campaign helper.” He explained that before being contacted by The Varsity he was unaware of Chin-Sang’s intention to drop out of the election, and was uncomfortable commenting without discussing the matter with her. He said that he has tried to be as accommodating as possible, by changing the information on the website and offering to reprint the posters. “Honestly, we’re creating forty posters at the same time, these are valid concerns, but there are bigger issues we should be focusing on,” he said. He also stated that there was no intentional attempt to misinform students about Chin-Sang’s platform.
For Chin-Sang, these measures weren’t good enough. “Every time I see them I’m like, ‘that’s a lie,’ it’s compromising my integrity and my dignity, it’s a false platform and I feel like I can’t run anymore on a false platform,” she explained. She also stated that this incident reflects larger issues she had experienced with the slate. In meetings with the team leading up to the campaign period she says she was not given a clear explanation of what her role was, or her individual responsibilities. When she inquired about what she was responsible for she says she was told that the slate worked as “more of a team.”
Chin-Sang went on to say that she feels scared, and intimidated by the slate. “They’re such a big group, they have so many connections,” she explained. “I don’t know what they’re capable of, I’m a single person going against this big union.”
Danielle Sandhu confirmed that she is helping run the U of T Voice’s campaign, along with Corey Scott, who she identified as the campaign manager. Sandhu was president of the UTSU in the 2010–2011 academic year. “Both Corey and I have experience running for an UTSU election, so we were more than willing to help Yolen out, and a group of students we really believe in,” explained Sandhu.
She stated that she spoke with Chin-Sang on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 4 and felt that they had a positive conversation, in which she offered to reprint the posters that very day. “I absolutely understood where she was coming from,” explained Sandhu. “It’s so important to have your individual voice heard, and your platform respected.” Sandhu said that after her conversation with Chin-Sang it was her understanding that Chin-Sang no longer intended to withdraw from the election and endorse Team Unite. The Varsity subsequently contacted Chin-Sang, who confirmed her intention to leave.
When making the decision to abandon her bid for UC director Chin-Sang says she spoke to her friends and family, and then reached out to Pierre Harfouche, vice-president, university affairs candidate for Team Unite. After having trouble reaching Harfouche, Chin-Sang connected with Team Unite’s vice-president, external candidate Nicky Bhatty, and their campaign manager Vip Vigneswaren. After speaking to Team Unite about her experience, Chin-Sang is publicly endorsing their campaign. Chin-Sang says she will release an open letter through Facebook later this evening detailing, her experience with the U of T Voice, her platform, and how it was misrepresented.