Unofficial results for this year’s University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) elections indicate that the Brighter UofT slate has won all executive positions.
According to the unofficial results, Ben Coleman was elected president by a margin of 3,630 to 3,147. Sania Khan was elected vice-president, equity by a margin of 3,518 to 2,812. Jasmine Denike was elected vice-president, external by a margin of 3,500 to 2,837. Ryan Gomes was elected vice-president, internal & services by a margin of 3,604 to 2,886. Vere-Marie Khan was elected vice-president, university affairs by a margin of 3,652 to 2,848.
On the Change UofT slate, both presidential candidate Cameron Wathey and vice-president, internal candidate Grayce Slobodian were incumbents.
Each executive candidate election had over 1,000 spoiled ballots with the exception of the presidential race, which had 988 spoiled ballots.
Brighter UofT also won the majority of seats on the UTSU Board of Directors.
In last year’s race, team U of T Voice, the slate which included Wathey and Slobodian, won four of five executive seats by narrower margins.
This year’s unofficial results show slightly higher voter turnout, with proportionally higher spoiled ballots.
Spate of demerit points issued at end of election period
At the end of a relatively tame University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) election period, the chief returning officer (CRO) issued 92 demerit points — 87 of which were grouped in a single ruling.
Of the nine total rulings posted as of press time, five were posted on Sunday, March 22.
One of the rulings referred to all members of the Brighter UofT slate. According to the elections notice board, non-arms-length parties to the Brighter UofT slate had violated the rules of fair play by posting “bullying, harassing and libelous” content directed towards Change UofT’s presidential candidate, Cameron Wathey.
According to the CRO’s description, the post in question “us[ed] slanderous language describing Mr. Wathey as sexist and misogynistic [and] falsely represent[ed] his online presence.”
It is unclear if the ruling refers to an incident last Friday, in which Wathey appeared to “like” a misogynistic post on the U of T Confessions page.
Wathey responded that the action was not his own, but an attack on his social media presence.
Brighter UofT members were assigned three demerit points as a result of the complaint.
Xinbo Zhang, vice-president, university affairs candidate for Change UofT, was also assigned three demerit points for the complaint.
The CRO did not respond to request for comment. Change UofT also did not respond to requests for comment.
It remains unclear why Zhang was named in the ruling, since he is not associated with the Brighter UofT slate.
According to Brighter UofT presidential candidate Ben Coleman, the slate intends to appeal the ruling.
The CRO also issued three demerit points to Brighter UofT Woodsworth director candidate Nathan Gibson for a complaint that he and a “non-arms-length” party took down a promotional poster for a club event.
A complaint issued against the Change UofT slate for misrepresentation of facts resulted in one demerit point for Grayce Slobodian, vice president, internal and services candidate. The complaint alleged that the “Victories” page on the Change UofT website misrepresented the achievements of the Change UofT team. The CRO determined that only one statement was misrepresented, and that Slobodian was the only team member responsible for the false content.
CRO rulings five and six, which pertained to minor complaints against Change UofT director candidate Neil Vas and Brighter UofT vice president, equity, candidate Sania Khan, respectively, did not result in the assignment of demerit points.
In order to be disqualified, executive candidates would have to receive 35 demerit points, while at-large director candidates would have to receive 30, and other director candidates, 20. “I’m fairly confident that no one on our team has done anything to warrant a disqualification,” says Vip Vigneswaran, campaign manager for Brighter UofT.
UTSU president-elect Coleman says that the entire Brighter slate was “pretty confident” about the election results. “We’re excited to get to work, and would like to thank all candidates for putting themselves out there,” he said Sunday.
Wathey said that he and his team ran a positive campaign that focused on issues and put students first. “I am so proud of my team and everything we have accomplished in the last few weeks,” he stated.
The election results must still be ratified at a UTSU Board of Directors meeting on Monday.
With files from Iris Robin.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Brighter UofT Woodsworth director candidate Nathan Gibson was issued demerit points for taking down other candidates’ posters. In fact, the ruling in question was for taking down a promotional poster for a club event unrelated to the election.