UTM Rise stormed to victory, claiming all executive positions in last week’s University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) elections. Rise’s candidates beat out UTM Reform’s candidates, winning each position by a margin of over 1,000 votes.
The results will be considered official once the Elections and Referenda Committee have ratified them, in order to give students time to request a recount. The deadline to do so is March 18 at 11:59pm.
Current UTMSU vice-president, external, Ebi Agbeyegbe is now the president-elect, after winning 2,286 votes to competitor Maaham Malik’s 812.
Francesco Otello-DeLuca won the position of vice-president, internal & services by a similar margin: 2,239 votes to Muhammad Talha Mahmood of UTM Reform’s 835.
UTM Reform did not field a candidate for the office of vice-president, university affairs and academics; Nour Alideeb was elected with 2,542 votes in favour.
For vice-president, external, Naveed Ahmed won with 2,331 votes, 1,576 more than rival Shreya Narang’s 755.
Zehra Ramsha took vice-president, equity, with 2,114 votes, to Rishabh Dev’s 983.
Amir Moazzami won vice-president, part-time affairs in an unopposed election, with 47 voters in favour of him.
Numerous allegations surfaced over the course of the UTMSU’s election period. Among the incidents in the contentious campaign was what some students referred to as harassment by campaigners around voting booths, where over 10 campaigners at either side of a polling station allegedly prevented students from passing by.
“You couldn’t walk without bumping into a campaigner,” said Maaham Malik, presidential candidate for the Reform slate.
On Wednesday, an emergency meeting was called between the presidential candidates, campus police, and the CRO after four anonymous calls were made to campus police by students who reported harassment at the polling stations earlier that day.
Malik says that she doesn’t blame a particular slate for pressuring students, but she knows that she has worked to ensure Reform takes a nonaggressive position. “We had a very approachable way of running this campaign,” says Malik.
She adds that she believes Reform had around four campaigners stationed in the building at the time campus police were called, but she recalls around 15 Rise campaigners on the premises.
Current UTMSU executives, president Hassan Havili and Melissa Theodore, vice-president, equity, were campaigning on behalf of UTM Rise.
The Chief Returning Officer confirmed in an email to The Medium that Havili took a two-week leave of absence during the election period.
Agbeyegbe verified that there were at least four or five non-UTM students campaigning for his slate.
The issue of external campaigning has been contentious for many years. Earlier this year, University of Toronto Students’ Union executives were spotted campaigning at Ryerson University.