UTSU election results ratified

Approval comes after vote recounts, disqualification appeals

The results of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) elections were ratified yesterday during an UTSU Board of Directors meeting. The meeting was the second part of one that took place on March 30, but adjourned due to a loss of quorum.

The Brighter UofT slate claimed all five executive positions in the elections. Ben Coleman was ratified as the UTSU’s president-elect, along with Ryan Gomes as vice-president internal & services-elect, Vere-Marie Khan as vice-president, university affairs-elect, Sania Khan as vice-president, equity-elect, and Jasmine Denike, vice-president, external-elect.


Events took a dramatic turn when two candidates were disqualified on April 14, the day before the second meeting. Jessica Afonso, the victorious Brighter candidate in the St Michael’s College director election, and Ryan Schwenger, an independent candidate for Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (KPE), were disqualified on the grounds that they had overspent on their campaigns.

On the day of the meeting, Afonso successfully appealed the chief returning officer’s ruling and she remains elected.

Although he was originally declared elected with 217 votes to opponent Ernest Manalo’s 38, Schwenger’s appeal failed. According to his campaign expense receipts, Schwenger spent $111 on printed material, surpassing the $100 maximum.

During the April 15 meeting, Schwenger attempted to separate the result of his election from the others set for ratification. UTSU chair Ashkon Hashemi ruled against such a division, a decision that Schwenger appealed. Schwenger explained the expense, stating that he told the printers that his budget was limited to $100 and that the cost was calculated before tax.

After around 20 minutes of discussion, the Board of Directors voted to uphold Hashemi’s ruling and the results were ratified afterwards. Manalo will serve as the KPE representative on the Board of Directors next year.

Delayed ratification

The ratification was initially scheduled to occur during the March 30 meeting that adjourned prematurely. At that time, ballot recounts for Woodsworth College and New College directorship elections had not yet occurred. Elections for these positions warranted an automatic recount due to their small margins of victory.

The ballots were recounted on April 9. The results of the Woodsworth College director election did not change; as a result, Nathan Gibson and Cailyn Stewart from Brighter UofT and Matt Celestial of Change UofT are secure in their positions.

Change UofT candidate Sasha Henry and Peter Zhang of Brighter UofT both obtained 187 votes in the original ballot count for the New College director election, edging out Brighter UofT’s Zachary Bist by just one vote.

Following the recount, Bist was declared elected in Henry’s place with 186 votes after Henry’s total was revised to 185. Danni Zuo of team Change UofT won the most votes in the New College director race. Her original total of 194 increased to 195 after the recount. Zhang’s total also increased by one vote; he remains elected.

The winners will take office on May 1, 2015.

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