Mahir Zuber, the chief returning officer for the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union spring elections has resigned, claiming an unsafe work environment following a protest at the All-Candidates Meeting of the elections.
“I regret to inform you that I will be resigning from my position as CRO. During the All-Candidates meeting, I was grabbed by students, thrown onto a table and punched in the face,” Zuber’s statement read, “Because of these events, I do not wish to continue as CRO for fear of my own safety.”
The protest took place on January 22nd, when a group of students stormed the meeting protesting the disqualifications of several candidates and claimed there was collusion concerning the CRO within the proceedings.
The Election Referendum Committee also released a statement through the SCSU’s Facebook page defending the CRO’s decision to disqualify the unnamed candidates. According to their statement, candidate Deena Hassan was disqualified after “wearing a sweater indicating their position and/or status while collecting nominations which is a violation of the EPC.” Hassan received a total of 40 demerit points that accumulated in disqualification.
Comments responding to the statement alleged that Hassan was wearing a SCSU sweater.
The demerit points were assigned to Hassan due to alleged violation of the EPC in section C under Fair Play. Hassan received 15 demerit points for “Abuse of power and position.”
The Election Procedural Code lists the amount of demerit points allotted to a certain offence, but does not detail what the offence entails. No criteria is given to define “abuse of power”.
Candidates have the ability to appeal any demerit points assigned during the election period. An appeal meeting was held on January 22nd to review Hassan’s case.
The ERC’s statement maintained its stance that Hassan would remain disqualified despite the student protest.
“The Elections and Appeals Committee’s decision is final and not open to be appealed again.”
Both posts regarding the CRO’s resignation and the statement by the ERC received backlash on social media, calling the CRO’s allegations of being “thrown” and “punched” untrue.
A video footage from the protest showed one of the disqualified candidates standing on the main table of the meetings, and alleging that her disqualification was “unjust.”
Another commenter identified himself as a candidate who was disqualified for not achieving the correct number of nomination signatures, alleging that the CRO claimed his 100th signature came from a non-student and was not valid.
The Medium reached out to SCSU’s president, Sitharsana Srithas, for comment on the protest but did not receive a reply as of press time.
With the CRO’s resignation, it is currently unclear if the timeline of the student elections will be affected or if the elections will be postponed until later in the semester.