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MOTIVATE UTSC slate wins five of six executive positions in 2021 SCSU elections

Abdillahi wins presidential re-election after opponent’s controversial disqualification
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Winners of the SCSU executive positions. COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES
Winners of the SCSU executive positions. COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE CANDIDATES

On March 5, the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) released the unofficial election results of its 2021–2022 elections, following a voting period from March 24. 

The voter turnout for this year’s election was 11.67 per cent of a total of 13,452 eligible voters. This is slightly lower than last year, when the voter turnout was 13.85 per cent, based on a calculation out of 14,000 members of SCSU. 

Winners of executive positions

Sarah Abdillahi was re-elected as president with an approval rating of 76 per cent and a total of 1,201 votes. Abdillahi was unchallenged during the voting period as her opponent, current vice-president external, Eesha Chaudhry, was disqualified earlier in the week. 

The other winners were also announced, with the four out of five of the remaining winners coming from the MOTIVATE UTSC slate. 

For vice-president academics & university affairs, the winner was Rimsha Rahman from MOTIVATE UTSC with 909 votes and 58 per cent of total votes. TJ Ho, with the MOTIVATE UTSC slate, won re-election as vice-president campus life, with 1,075 votes and 68 per cent of total votes. For vice-president equity, the winner was Isaiah Murray from the MOTIVATE UTSC slate with 774 votes and 49 per cent of total votes. From the MOTIVATE UTSC slate, Andy Mai won for vice-president operations with 900 votes and 57 per cent of total votes. 

The only candidate from the Connect UTSC slate to win was Farah Ahmad, who won the vice-president external position with 805 votes and 51 per cent of total votes. 

Demerit points

The SCSU assigns demerit points during elections if candidates are deemed to have broken the election code. Over 35 demerit points leads to a disqualification of the candidate. 

Chaudhry was assigned the most demerit points, with a total of 35 points leading to disqualification. This outcome stems from an allegation that Chaudhry sent an anonymous email containing Abdillahi’s academic transcript to the chief returning officer (CRO) in order to question Abdillahi’s eligibility to run in the elections. Though the Elections and Referenda Committee launched an investigation that concluded with Chaudhry’s disqualification, Chaudhry denies this allegation. 

Abdillahi also ended the election with a total of 15 demerit points for employing an “excessive repurposing of their Instagram account for campaigning.”

Two non-presidential candidates also received demerit points. Bruce Chan, a candidate for vice-president operations with the Connect UTSC slate, received 10 points for leaving a campaign photo up on his Instagram account hours after the CRO had requested he take it down. Vice-president equity candidate Anaïs Ouedraogo, who ran as an independent, received five points for beginning her campaign before the start of the official campaign period.

Disclosure: Anastasiya Gordiychuk won the director of arts culture & media position in these elections. She is an associate business & labour editor at The Varsity.

Editor’s note (March 6): This article has been updated to clarify that the Elections and Referenda Committee’s conclusion led to Chaudhry’s disqualification, without any reference to their findings regarding Chaudhry’s role in the anonymous email, since such findings have not been elaborated. This article has also been updated to correct that five out of six positions were filled by MOTIVATE UTSC candidates.