A campus club known as the University of Toronto United Newcomers Illuminated (UNI) posted a blog entry informally endorsing the 1UofT slate for the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) elections late last week.
The post first surfaced on March 18 on the Chinese social media site WeChat and contained bizarre descriptions of the executive candidates, an explanation of the voting procedure, and the slate’s platform points.
According to The Varsity’s translation, the post advertises the 1UofT slate as looking like models. It goes on to describe vice president, external candidate Andre Fast as a “hot guy,” and compare vice president, campus life candidate Lera Nwineh, to US President Barack Obama. The post also remarked upon vice president, university affairs candidate Andy Edem’s physique.
It is unclear whether or not the post is compliant with the Elections Procedure Code (EPC), since it is not an officially approved piece of campaign material.
1UofT said they approached many clubs for endorsements, including the UNI, who responded positively to the slate. 1UofT maintains that they were not consulted before UNI began circulating the endorsement.
“My team works hard to follow the rules and spirit of the election,” said Madina Siddiqui, presidential candidate for 1UofT. “We don’t support any non approved posts being shared and we hope everyone can follow the rules of the election,” she added.
Article IV, Part 1, Section i of the EPC states that “All text in other languages on Campaign Materials must have an accurate English translation that appears in equal stature and size.” The EPC also requires that the translation be notarized.
The EPC does not specify any other conditions regarding campaigning in a language other than English. There is no complete English translation of the original post.
The post concluded by commending 1UofT for including Chinese candidates on their slate: Carina Zhang, for vice president, internal and service, Charlotte Mengxi Chen, for vice president, professional faculty, and David Yidong Fu, for mathematical and physical science director on the UTSU Board of Directors.
Siddiqui said that her team has circulated a campaign poster translated in Mandarin that has been approved by the CRO. “We [are] asking people to share [the post] instead of anything else,” said Siddiqui.