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2017 URSU Election Update

author: john loeppky | sports editor

Concerns surrounding URSU Election results persist/URSU Website Election Promotional Image

Allegations abound following results

In an update to yesterday’s story, the Carillon has been informed that the only person who is authorized to speak on the organization’s behalf in regards to the result of the emergency board meeting on this past Monday is VP of External Affairs, Abby Rutko and that, at this time, the voting breakdown has not been released, nor has the reason for Maria Aman’s disqualification. Decisions related to the election will occur at next Tuesday’s board meeting, to be held at 6:00 p.m., which will include a ratification vote regarding the results.

The following is a prepared statement written by the CRO, Caileigh Beckman.

“I cannot speak of particulars as I do not want to be seen as betraying any confidences of my office or possibly favour or disfavour any candidate or candidates. I did not treat any candidates any differently. I treated all candidates the same. Aman complained that I was biased. As the CRO, I treated her allegations very seriously. I took measures to ensure that I was not involved in dealing with the reviews of her behaviour. To ensure transparency and fairness and remove any possible appearance of bias, I removed myself from consideration of her behaviours, relinquished authority to the election committee and ultimately the board. The committee conducted an investigation. My conduct was reviewed and all of my decisions and dealings with her and other candidates were upheld. I did not disqualify Aman. I always followed process as directed by the election bylaws. The CRO is a thankless job. When I make a decision someone is going to be disappointed, no matter what. It is not unheard of and it is somewhat expected that people are going to be unhappy with decisions the CRO has to make.” Beckman added, “I respect the executive, I respect the board, and I respect the decision that they had to come to. I don’t think it came to them lightly and I think all of those concerns were addressed when it came to that decision.”

A source has confirmed that Maria Aman accused the Chief Returning Officer of being biased in her decision resulting in the CRO recusing herself from issues concerning Aman in the lead up to the election results. The source also confirmed that racial allegations were made against URSU as an organization, though they were in passing rather than being formalized. The issues with the election began with early campaigning and then became a means, it seems, to use the CRO position as way to disqualify other candidates rather than people conducting their campaigns in a fair manner. It has also been confirmed that the time of the polls closing was always going to be midnight and that the candidates had made a presumption regarding a five o’clock end time, the time polls closed previous years. The name of our source has been withheld for their protection.

URSU President Jermain McKenzie had previously highlighted what he felt was a restructuring of the CRO’s role to include a committee to oversee the process, writing a clarification in the comment section of the Carillon‘s Facebook page. He established his support of Beckman, saying that she had come to him with concerns after the article’s publication and that she had, “cleared up certain perceptions that I [McKenzie] had previously held. I want to thank her for her service and her responsiveness throughout the election. Her work was made even more difficult for the lack of clarity surrounding the bylaws and the actions of various persons throughout the campaign.” McKenzie would go on to confirm that, in his view, “…an elections committee that is made up of students outside of the URSU Executive and Board will be the best way to move forward.”

Many students have come to Aman’s defence, most vocally her sister Sofia, in questioning the actions of the URSU executive and the response by the VP of Student Affairs, Shawn Wiskar. Some students are contesting the transparency of the organization via social media, while the executive contests that the decision is a matter of privacy for those involved. When reached for comment, Sofia Aman voiced her discontent.

“I’m shocked, outraged and disappointed by what these representatives are trying to pass off as a legitimate election. I’m just another student asking for accountability and transparency regarding Maria’s sudden, suspicious disqualification. We’ve been left with no information regarding the reasons for disqualification as well as why the voting period was randomly extended without notifying students. The URSU executive and management are entrusted by students to do their job with a bit of integrity and ethics and so far I haven’t seen that done.”

Maria Aman, when reached for comment, said that she did not have anything to add at that time – that time being Wednesday evening. She had stated previously that she would be considering taking further action. It is unclear at this time what action that would mean.

About John Loeppky

I am an athlete with a writing problem, or a writer with a sports problem, you decide. When I'm not editing, playing wheelchair sports, or advocating for the disabled, you can find me de-stressing with friends.