Several candidates from the Reboot U of T slate have withdrawn from the slate during the first day of voting. Keelie-Shay Eaid, Vice-President Equity candidate, and Jenny Yue, Vice-President Professional Faculites candidate, have issued statements on their Facebook pages indicating that they have withdrawn from the slate.
Eaid and Yue are each 10 demerit points away from the maximum allowable for executive candidates.
Victoria College Director candidate Alex Bercik, Dentistry Director candidate Joanna Man; Professional Faculties at-Large Director candidate Tony Ye, and Social Sciences Director candidate, Jane Tien have also declared their withdrawal from the slate. These candidates have accrued 20 demerit points, the maximum allowable amount for director candidates.
A portion of the statement written to The Varsity on behalf of the slate reads: “Many Reboot members have decided to disband in order to avoid further demerits for the whole slate, altogether. The ERC/CRO has placed many Reboot candidates on the edge of disqualification and has hence forced them dissociate. In light of the recent disqualification of 5 members, other Reboot members were placed in a very tight spot. However, the members still have the same platform goals even as individuals.”
On March 13, five candidates from the slate, including the presidential candidate, Micah Ryu, had incurred enough demerit points to be disqualified. A statement on was issued on Reboot UofT’s Facebook page, saying that the candidates were withdrawing from the UTSU elections. They are still able to appeal the ERC’s decisions.
Eaid says that she and others have decided to “dissassociate [sic] with the slate in order to avoid any further demerit points from comments that were/are being left on our (Facebook) page.”
She notes that they had incurred 8 demerit points for one comment on a post and 10 on another. She also said that she will not be disavowing the slate’s platform, and she did not believe the other candidates would either.
“For some candidates that still have a very solid chance at winning their seat, continuing on as a slate was no longer worth the risk of being targeted. In particular, our former Dentistry candidate is running unopposed and the faculty would have no board representation for several months if she was disqualified, and based on the way the DROOP quota system works, we think it’s very likely for some of our college directors to win their seats as well,” Eaid explained.
“We came together because of shared ideas. We are splitting up so we no longer have to be liable for each others’ actions. This isn’t a betrayal of ideas, it’s a dropping of liabilities,” Eaid went on.
Avinash Mukkala, the slate’s recently disqualified Life Sciences Director candidate, also echoed Eaid’s reasoning, saying that the Elections and Referenda Committee had “placed us in a very tight spot at the edge of disqualification for many individuals.” He also noted that his disqualification meant that “further affiliation would be at too high of a risk.”
Riley Moher, one of the slate’s disqualified Engineering Director candidates, said that he would not be appealing the decision because of what he had heard from other slate members’ experiences trying to overturn decisions.
“I think the role of the ERC and CRO is too great, and the application of the rules of the election can be subject to too much subjectivity and political influence,” Moher said, adding that he was not hopeful of “stamping out corruption and politicization within the UTSU within the current student politics climate.”
According to Ryan Gomes, Chair of the ERC, these actions may not be perceived by the ERC or the appellate board as truly disavowing the slate.
“I think that they would have a harder time convincing the ERC or the appellate board that this actually was a disbanding of the slate, especially considering that they’re still all on the website and they’re not disavowing their platform and the names on the ballot still say Reboot… I think it would be a difficult sell,” Gomes said.
At the time of the interview with Gomes, the candidates’ profiles were still shown on the Reboot UofT website, however, the candidates page was empty at press time.
Ryu confirms that they were “looking into disbanding the slate.” He also brought up the example of Reboot UofT’s former Dentistry Director candidate, saying that she had “done nothing with respect to any of the violations, and isn’t gaining any advantages from those violations since she’s running unopposed.”
“They keep handing out points as a slate and that was about to disqualify a lot more people. Our 3 engineering director candidates were only put over the top… because of how many points they gave us for not policing our Facebook page comments well enough,” Ryu said.