Tim Brilhante was denied the chance to appeal his disqualification as a student presidential candidate at a tension-filled Humber Students Federation’s Board of Director’s meeting Wednesday night.
“Put me before a committee, let’s motion this tonight,” said Brilhante whose name was taken off the ballot Mar. 13.
Standing with his back against the wall and his hands behind his back, Brilhante played a ten-minute recording statement that outlined his desire for an appeal, and disputed two of the strikes he received in detail. He also acknowledged he was on the Board of Directors who voted in the elections appeal policy.
Before Brilhante played the recorded statement, chairperson Rosa Figueroa warned candidates “if it gets too emotional, or too heated, I will be forced to shut down the meeting.”
It wouldn’t be the last warning she would give.
Reasons for denial
Many on the Board of Directors said they felt granting an appeal is against the rules.
“When you put it out to news teams, social media, it’s impossible to have an appeals committee,” said Kay Tracey, current VP of Student Affairs at North Campus who was also in the running for HSF president.
Cristina Marin agreed. “Nowhere it says we can rebuttal strikes from the CRO. I don’t think we have that power,” Marin said.
The Board also discussed the validity of the current election considering Brilhante’s disqualification, despite being reminded by Fugeuroa many times that the board is to stick to discussing overall policy, and not individual situations.
Emily Rockarts, a Board of Director, said she doesn’t feel comfortable with how the presidential election was handled.
“I can’t feel right with a President who didn’t get the most votes having power for a year,” Rockarts said. “There’s been a mistake, something’s wrong. I don’t feel good going against policies, but I don’t feel good about having 2,500 votes disqualified.”
Many other candidates did not agree with Rockarts assessment of the presidential election. The suggestion that 2500 votes were thrown away was contested by some.
Colin Edwards Crewe, current VP of Student Life at Lakeshore, said votes weren’t considered null. “It’s the candidate who threw away the vote, it’s a skewed perspective to say that votes were wasted”, said Crewe.
Tracey, says she believes the policy does not need changing.
“It’s been there for years, been reviewed by the GRC,” Tracey said. “I fail to see how this is mistaken. It’s because it’s personal. The document says what it says, and was approved by the board.”
Brilhante said in his opening statement he received a strike because Embassy, which is an HSF club, endorsed Brilhante on Twitter. Melissa Brown, the President of Embassy, told Humber News in an e-mail that it did not officially endorse Brilhante for President and to “feel free to check out our Facebook and Twitter to see all the posts and tweets we made.” Brilhante also said he brought a written statement with him from Embassy, but did not read it at the meeting.
Frank Rizzi, the acting executive director, told Humber News he personally viewed the social media post, but wouldn’t address specifics. “I would never want to do something that would make a student look in a negative manner in any way. That’s with any student”
Many reminders were given by Figeuroa to the Board that no personal discussions were to be made, as the discussion veered off course repeatedly.
Brilhante made an attempt to invalidate the chair’s position, stating he had proof that she was not the official chair. Eric Collins said Brilhante was technically correct, but that it was generally agreed upon by the board that Figeuora would be the one to convene the meetings back in September. Brilhante apologized for the statement.
After a two minute break, Marin expressed concern over Brilhante’s lack of office hours in the weeks leading up to the election, a statement echoed by Tracey, who said she didn’t have an answer to where Brilhante was when students asked her.
“Saying I was too busy to find the time is illogical,” Tracey said. “We have four VP’s, we’re full-time students, somehow we find time to communicate. The President is a part-time student.”
“Open door policy? Where, you’re not in the office,” said Tracey.
Brilhante pointed out Tracey has missed many food bank appointments, something she was supposed to make and keep. Tracey admitted she did fall back on her assignments.
Brilhante also pointed out that Crewe had issues of attendance last December. “You made time for a meet and greet but missed a board meeting. How do you expect me to hold you accountable?” Brilhante said.
No motions to terminate Brilhante were made.
The Governance Review Committee, lead by Eric Collins, will meet at an indefinite time to review the elections and appeals policy. Only Board members are allowed to be on the committee. The GRC will suggest changes and get approval by the board.
“Even with big companies they won’t know of an issue unless something happens. There are some ideas floating around,” said Collins.
Mar. 26, will be the Annual General Meeting which will be held at 11 a.m. at the Student Centre in KX 202 at the North Campus. All students are allowed to vote on issues such as the HSF budget and the HSF Constitution.
After the meeting Brittney Thames described the mood of the evening
Brilhante discussed what he plans to do next