The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) has banned the existence of slates in its elections following a lengthy debate at its Annual General Meeting on October 30.
Slates are defined groups of candidates running together, often sharing branding and platforms, and have been a staple in UTSU elections.
The amendment to the Election Procedure Code detailed that no candidate will be allowed to campaign for another candidate, that no campaign material would solicit votes for multiple candidates, and that any cross-campaigning would be limited only to elections governed by the code.
UTSU President Anne Boucher spoke in favour of banning slates, saying that although there were pros, such as having a clearer vision and a more discernible platform, there were also cons, such as voters not having a clear sense of who they are electing.
“Having seen both sides, I can definitely say that I prefer having independent candidates run,” Boucher later said in an interview with The Varsity. “I think it offers them a lot more opportunity to give a fuller picture of who they are.”
Boucher ran in the 2017 elections as an independent candidate for Vice-President External, and in the 2018 elections as the presidential contender for the Compass slate.
She also noted the importance of knowing who people are voting for. “You can’t just base it off of a very catchy two- [or] three-point slate platform,” she said.
Mathias Memmel, former UTSU President and current UTSU contractor, noted at the meeting that there was frustration around the culture of slates in student politics. He claimed that the most popular idea to hate at U of T is the slate system itself.
Slates have long been a fixture in UTSU student politics. In the 2017 elections, there were three full slates — Demand Better, We The Students, and Reboot U of T — as well as the partial slate of Whomst’d’ve. In the 2016 elections there were two slates — Hello U of T and 1UofT.
— With files from Hannah Carty, Ann Marie Elpa, Josie Kao, Adam A. Lam, and Andy Takagi