Deena Hassan, one of the major figures in the recent protest of the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) elections’ all-candidates meeting, is now a contender for the presidency of the union.
Hassan, the current VP Operations of the SCSU, was disqualified from running in the elections on January 22 after she incurred more demerit points than is allowed for executive candidates for abuse of position or status and malicious or intentional violation of the Elections and Procedures Code (EPC).
Executive candidates are only allowed to incur 35 demerit points before disqualification, which Hassan met at that time. The demerit points came after then-Chief Returning Officer (CRO), Mahir Zuber, received multiple photos of Hassan wearing a sweater indicating her status on the union while collecting nomination signatures. This was apparently not the first time that Hassan has been criticized for abusing her position on the union in relation to these SCSU elections.
The Elections and Referenda Committee (ERC) released a statement today that they had reconvened over Hassan’s disqualification where she was allowed to present her case to the committee. The ERC ruled that it would maintain the 15 demerit points for abuse of position or status, but reduce the 25 demerit points for malicious and intentional violation of the code to 10 points. This puts Hassan at a total of 25 demerit points, 10 away from disqualification at the start of the campaign period. Her candidacy will be made official upon attendance at the all-candidates meeting today at 4:00 pm.
The ERC’s statement also noted that Hassan is required to apologize on social media for her behaviour at the January 22 disruption.
The January 22 all-candidates meeting was interrupted by roughly 50 protesters, seemingly led by Hassan and Ray Alibux. Both Hassan and Alibux were disqualified from running in the elections; Alibux’s disqualification has since been reversed, and he is now also running for SCSU President.
The protest turned violent: SCSU Internal Coordinator Arthi Velupillai sought medical attention for an injured arm, while former CRO Zuber claims he was thrown onto a table and punched in the face. Zuber resigned in the wake of the protest.
“The disruption and slandering of the individuals was completely unacceptable,” reads the ERC’s statement. “It created an unsafe atmosphere for many, in which people were hurt, both physically and emotionally.” Moving forward, the ERC will meet any disruption of the all-candidates meeting with immediate disqualification.
The Varsity has reached out to Hassan for comment.