Issue 31, Volume 85
Feb. 13, 2013
As if exam season wasn’t stressful enough, students will likely vote in their new representatives a month late due to council scrapping the March general election.
The University of Windsor Students’ Alliance had plans to run two new executive positions in the upcoming undergraduate student election; expanding its senior team from four to six.
Following a heated council meeting last Thursday, the UWSA revealed they had in fact broken policy by not finalizing the process at the Internal Policy Committee before putting a call out for nominations. IPC attempted to meet to approve the two new exective positions last Friday, but failed to reach quorum with its 16 members.
Deputy Returning Officer Jordan Renaud resigned from his position Tuesday, saying he has reason to suspect corruption and influence are hindering the election.
“The drama has just increased internally to a level that I can’t bare anymore. It’s starting to take a toil on my relationships it’s got to a point where I said, ‘This is not worth it,’” he said. “In the next administration there may be a place for me, but for now, it’s over.”
Mike Maher, council chair, said at last week’s council meeting. “The election has been called upon bylaws that don’t exist. So as far as I’m concerned, you don’t have an election right now. The motion (to run the new executive positions in the election) should have been ruled out of order because the bylaws weren’t in place.”
Mohammad Akbar, vice-president university affairs, said the UWSA’s lawyer “presented a viable option and council ignored it.”
In a legal statement to the UWSA, lawyer Thomas Porter, said, ‘…It would be presumptuous and in violation of the wording and spirit of your constitution to include new executive positions on an election ballot prior to formal approval of the bylaw that would authorize the creation of the positions.”
“Council should reconsider the matter and either amend the … decision or defer the creation of new executive positions he added.
Porter suggested that if the UWSA council wants to include the two executive positions on the election ballot they should including wording that the positions are “conditional upon bylaw amendments being deliberated upon and approved in accordance with the UWSA constitution prior to the election date to allow for the creation of the new executive positions.”
Erik Pigeon, vice-president finance and operations, declared at the meeting, “We did something that is illegal. We have to right our wrongs. We have to change our timeline (for the election).”
It was also discovered by The Lance that the IPC has been functioning without a mandate, and as such, illegitimately since its membership (UWSA senators, councilors and board members) was not ratified last June, following the previous general election.
Akbar doesn’t believe the election will be rescheduled until final exams, which places current executives seeking re-election at an advantage over those who must remain focused on their studies, as most executives attend university part-time and would be able to focus more on campaigning.
During the chaotic council meeting, a motion was brought forward by a UWSA member to fire current chief returning offcer Ebenezer Fordjour.
It was alleged during the meeting that Fordjour had failed to perform his job duties. UWSA president Kimberly Orr claimed that he had not read the bylaws nor his job description, which has led to numerous problems throughout the year.
The byelection was “awful,” according to Alyssa Atkins, vice-president administration. She said she often had difficulty communicating with Fordjour.
Fordjour, who was also in charge of last October’s byelection, wasn’t at the Thursday evening meeting. Members of council said it was unfair to vote to
remove him from office as he wasn’t in attendance.
“l think this motion is shameful,” said Pigeon, referring to the fact that Fordjour wasn ‘t present.
If removed as CRO, the election duties would fall on Atkins. Pigeon took issue with this arrangement, saying she has been helping current candidates with their campaigns which demonstrates bias. “How can she also be a CRO? It seems like a conflict of interest.”
The motion to fire Fordjour was suspended after a councillor left the meeting and quorum was lost.
Council will meet again Thursday to decide Fordjour’s fate and to approve a new election schedule, which would see the nomination period reopened for Feb. 25.
Article written with Natasha Marar, UWindsor Lance editor-in-chief
Jon Liedtke was the Features and Opinions Editor, Advertising Manager and Deficit Consultant at the UWindsor Lance.