ANDY TAKAGI/THE VARSITY

SCSYou presidential candidate Anup Atwal has been officially disqualified from the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) executive elections on February 5 for accumulating too many demerit points. Atwal’s campaign was suspended on the first day of voting and his appeal has been turned down by members of the union’s board of directors.  

According to the Elections Appeals Committee, Atwal has been disqualified for three separate violations of the Election Procedures Code of the Scarborough Students’ Campus Union (SCSU) on two different occasions.

Atwal first received 25 points on January 25 for a “Gross Misrepresentation of Facts” after posting “Unapproved Material” on social media. According to the notice, the social media post “contained an unreported incident which contained broad accusations.” After the candidate appealed, five demerit points were removed as the post was not targeted at any one person.

On February 1, Atwal received a total of 25 demerit points for “Malicious or Intentional Violation of this Code” when he made another unapproved social media post and a “direct and misleading” comment toward another candidate during The Underground’s executive candidates debate.

Although 20 demerit points issued in the second instance were withdrawn after an appeals process, the committee decided to uphold the 25 demerit points as Atwal allegedly uploaded more unapproved and misleading material on social media.

According to the Election Procedures Code, an executive candidate with more than 35 demerit points is automatically disqualified. Since Atwal had accumulated 45 demerits, he was disqualified as of February 5.

Following his disqualification, Atwal released a statement accusing the SCSU of “outright attacking” students’ rights to freedom of speech. 

“I have been removed for making a factual remark at a debate that SCSU’s current Director for Political Science [Raymond Dang], who is now running for VP Academics, has actively sought to silence student journalists with his motion,” Atwal wrote.

Dang moved a motion at the union’s board of directors meeting in December 2018 that would allow the SCSU to move toward controlling student media accreditation and access to meetings.

“If truth is considered a ‘malicious attack,’ then send me to jail, for the history of this month gives me a moral basis to challenge the irrational, to resist the oppressive, and dismantle the house of corruption one fact at a time,” Atwal’s statement reads.

UTSC students in favour of Atwal have started an online petition calling on the SCSU to let Atwal continue running in the election. As of press time, the petition had 150 supporters.

The Varsity has reached out to Raymond Dang and the Chief Returning Officer for comment.

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