The February 11 meeting of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Board of Directors upheld a decision by the Elections and Referenda Committee to ban candidates in UTSU elections from using marketing firms not run by U of T students during their campaigns.

UTSU President Mathias Memmel explained during the board meeting that candidates who violate this article will be penalized by up to 15 demerit points. He noted that the penalty is indicative of the seriousness of the violation.

“If we’re going to be reimbursing people for professional services, I would much rather those be students,” said Memmel.

Memmel said that candidates hiring non-university-affiliated firms to run their marketing campaigns is an issue the board noticed during last year’s elections.

The We the Students slate hired a student from Splash Effect, an external marketing firm, during last year’s UTSU executive and board elections. The slate did not reply to requests to clarify whether the student hired attended U of T.

Memmel said that last year seemed to be an anomaly, but he added that the union wanted to address the concern before it becomes a legitimate issue, especially after learning that other university students’ unions have dealt with similar issues as well.

The next UTSU Board of Directors meeting will take place on February 24.