With RSU elections coming up, here are a few to know about YOUR student union ” leaders ”

Who is REALLY running YOUR STUDENT UNION elections? Too bad Mr. Whitfield is not spending as much time working for RYERSON students as he is for the CFS  and THEIR objectives

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Eye on the election

Presidential candidates Adam Awad for Stronger Together and Steve Masse for Change U of T.

Toby Whitfield, the VP finance for the Ryerson Students’ Union, campaigns for the Stronger Together slate at Sidney Smith. This is Whitfield’s second year campaigning for the incumbent at U of T. When approached by The Varsity, Whitfield attempted to avoi

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This article was published on Mar 18, 2010 in the News section

The Varsity surveys the clashes and lashes in UTSU elections campaigning

Jane Bao

Harassment, intimidation, and race-baiting are among the complaints brought to the chief returning officer in the UTSU elections, Dave Blocker. Exec candidates are nearly tied for demerit points, with 56 for Change U of T and 55 for Stronger Together, as of Wednesday, March 17. Two board of directors candidates for Change, Jasmine Attfield and Michael Luczak, each have 15 demerit points.

Stronger Together was assigned demerit points for intimidation and aggressive questioning by Anisha Thomas, an ESSU exec, and other supporters; supporters campaigning in unauthorized areas; and improper posting of campaign materials.

The Change slate was given demerits for two candidates intentionally misrepresenting facts. They were also penalized for showing up to a meeting on Friday, March 12 that the CRO deemed to be a Stronger Together campaign strategizing meeting; for registering a complaint about contents of the email invitation that was forwarded to them; and for a video of the meeting taken by Antonin Mongeau, a vocal UTSU critic and EFUT (the French club) alumni chair.

Blocker wrote in two rulings that he was holding the Change slate responsible for Mongeau’s actions, deeming Mongeau a Change supporter. Steve Masse, the presidential candidate for Change, was docked 25 points for going to the meeting Friday. He has a total of 28 demerit points; candidates with 35 points are disqualified.

As of press time, members of the Stronger Together slate and campaign have not responded to phone calls and emails from The Varsity. alt text

Non-U of T campaigners

Toby Whitfield, Ryerson Students’ Union VP finance and services and president-elect, is campaigning for Stronger Together for the second year in a row. In March 2009, Whitfield told the Eyeopener, a Ryerson student newspaper, that he was campaigning because he was friends with the incumbent slate. Darshika Selvasivam, VP campaigns and advocacy at the York Federation of Students, has also been spotted campaigning for Stronger Together. Change campaigners are all U of T students, according to Masse.

Student union leaders from campuses that belong to the Canadian Federation of Students, an umbrella lobby group, have campaigned at each other’s campus elections. In 2008, Maclean’s reported that YFS president Hamid Osman had left Toronto during the York University strike to participate in a CFS-Ontario campaign to have U of O students join the federation. Also in 2008, York University student newspaper The Excalibur reported that Osman and two other YFS execs were seen campaigning in RSU elections for the Renew slate. In 2009, the CFS-Québec deputy chair-elect, Noah Stewart-Ornstein, was shown in a video tearing down seven campaign posters during elections at Concordia University.

Mongeau has accused Whitfield of tearing down EFUT posters. Mongeau has posted a video that shows EFUT posters in the trash and Whitfield walking away from the bulletin board outside Sidney Smith with a poster in his hand, but the grainy video does not clearly show Whitfield tearing down posters. Whitfield has not responded to queries from The Varsity.

Mongeau has a rocky relationship with UTSU. He was voted off the UTSU Clubs Committee in January 2009. Two months later, Mongeau was reprimanded by the CRO at the time, Lydia Treadwell, for hosting a debate while campaigning for the Change slate, though Mongeau disputed the ruling. Mongeau has graduated from U of T. alt text

Toby Whitfield, the VP finance for the Ryerson Students’ Union, campaigns for the Stronger Together slate at Sidney Smith.