An executive candidate in the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) elections is automatically disqualified if she accrues more than 35 demerit points. Anna Yin, Team Unite’s candidate for vice-president, internal and services, has now amassed 63 — 58 from a ruling issued yesterday, and 5 from two rulings earlier in the campaign.
Because vote counting began on March 14, if Yin won the election, the only other candidate — Cameron Wathey, from U of T Voice, will automatically become the winner. Results will be announced Monday, according to a statement issued by the CRO.
Yin may appeal the ruling to the UTSU Elections and Referenda Committee (ERC). The committee can then consider whether or not to rescind some or all of the demerit points. If she does not appeal or her appeal fails, Yin will be disqualified and fined $795.00 ($15 per demerit point above 10, as per the union’s Elections Procedure Code).
Yin received these demerits for allegedly claiming “that the UTSU membership fee was $345,” “that the UTSU has no report indicating where funds are spent,” “that UTSU’s largest expense is executive salaries,” “that the UTSU allowed the University of Toronto Mississauga to leave the organization in the past and divert fees to UTM,” “that the UTSU is preventing autonomous organizations from ‘leaving’ the UTSU by citing UTSU bylaws,” and “that a Student Society [sic] Summit was created to investigate undemocratic UTSU bylaws.”
Alex Flor, the Chief Returning Officer (CRO), ruled that these statements constituted misrepresentations of facts and that making them constituted “Failure to comply with the spirit and purpose of the elections” (an offence for which Yin was given 15 demerit points). The ruling stated that the CRO possessed “audio evidence of the alleged violation.” The ruling did not offer any quotations of Yin or details as to when or where these violations occurred.
When contacted, Yin declined to offer comment. On March 3, Flor ruled that speaking to The Varsity regarding unresolved conflicts with her decisions constitutes “Failure to follow the grievance procedures outlined in the Elections Procedure Code or Policy,” an offence for which up to 15 demerit points can be assigned. Flor did not reply to requests for comment as of press time.
Correction March 16 2014: A previous version of this article said Flor ruled that speaking to The Varsity about demerit points was demeritable. In fact, Flor ruled that contacting The Varsity to discuss unresolved conflicts with her rulings was demeritable, but did not specifically refer to conflicts about demerit points.