HSF Controversy: Other candidates still unhappy with electoral process
By Kathleen Jolly
The process which led to Tim Brilhante’s controversial disqualification isn’t sitting well with some of the winners and losers of the HSF elections.
Ahmed Tahir, who won VP Student Life at North campus, told Humber News that about half of the candidates did not sign the release form when first asked to on Friday at the All-Candidates meeting, which took place on Friday at Humber.
Signing the release form would have meant the candidates had no issues with the way the election process was run. Many candidates refused to sign it because they felt that Brilhante’s disqualification was unjust.
Brilhante received four strikes and was disqualified by Chief Returning Officer Natalia Toussaint. Reasons include alleged endorsements from people tied to HSF clubs, campaigning in LinX, a restricted area, and failing to delete a campaign photo from a Facebook page at the end of the campaigning period.
The new president Shawn Manahan agreed with the disqualification ruling.
“There was some dispute over the appeals process, mostly wording in the policy itself led people to believe that a signature at the end there that we had to sign was for something other than it was,” Manahan said. “So we sorted that out, but at the end everyone signed and they gave us our results.”
He added the rules were clear, and the consequences for breaking them were well known.
“When it comes down to it, you’re getting strikes and breaking or bending the rules, especially enough to get disqualified, then it is what it is,” he said.
Manahan said he believes those who attended the meeting ran a fair election, but he refused to specifically cite Brilhante.
“That’s not something that I’m going to dig into,” he said. “Things were done that would have changed the elections where there were different outcomes. But at the end of the day, I think all is fair and people that deserve to be up there are up there.”
Brilhante, however, was a leading voice of dissent regarding the process.
“At the end of the day, it’s about the process. It’s not about any individual or staff member or anything like that,” he said. “And I think we’re supposed to be the voice of students, the voice of reason, and I think students deserve an opportunity to plead their case.”
Many candidates sided with Brilhante and voiced their concerns at the meeting, which Brilhante was not allowed to join.
“I know myself, I at first didn’t sign the paper because I was looking at it and seeing from Tim’s side,” Tahir said. “It seemed at first that it wasn’t fair but as we discussed it further and further, we figured out from HSF’s perspective that this made sense, this had gone through a committee.”
Ultimately, Tahir and the other candidates signed the form.
“I think we all decided that this wasn’t the proper channel to file this kind of appeal, if we chose to do this,” said Tahir.
Others still felt that the process was unjust even after the meeting.
Odin Von Doom, who won VP Student Affairs for North campus, was unsatisfied with the election process after the meeting.
“Some glaring holes in the process unfortunately,” Von Doom said. “I mean, I don’t know what the votes were but from what word has been he’s gotten a very, very large majority share of them, and I think for a very good reason.”
Inderjeet Kaur Sangha, who ran against Von Doom for the VP Student Affairs, North position, echoed his sentiments.
“In terms of the way the HSF has run the elections this year there are definitely some major changes that could be done to the HSF policies and procedures on the way the election process was done, and I hope that the issues are brought to the Board of Directors and those changes are made for next year,” she said.
Brilhante is now putting his hopes for a better election process in the hands of the newly elected executives, which he said should review the elections policy in order to prevent this type of incident from happening again.
“I think we want to make sure that we really analyze this with a fine tooth and comb, and that’s all I ask, that the process be fair,” he said. “And if it takes me as a leader to stand up and bring awareness to this, then I’ve accomplished something positive out of this whole process.”