Editor Note: This article was published before the April 20 DSU Elections debate.
At the announcement of the candidates for the upcoming Dawson Student Union (DSU) Elections, nine students had decided to run for office – one for each Executive Board position. Sarah-Lena Grogg, who is running for Director of Mobilization and Communication, confirmed that the nine had decided to run as a team under the same slate.
Yesterday, however, the DSU Elections Committee (EC) announced via Facebook post the addition of Aya Chkirate as a new candidate running for Director of Sustainability. She will be running as an independent candidate.
Although the deadline for nomination submissions for the elections was April 10, this was permitted through an appeal Chkirate made that argued that EC did not provide enough time for the student body to be aware of the elections.
Despite the late addition, the number of candidates running for office this year, 10, is down from past years (15 in 2017 and 12 in 2016).
Why aren’t there more candidates?
As mentioned in a recent article, the DSU’s late selection of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), who is responsible for the EC, left little time for the EC to properly publicize the elections. This left many students, including Chkirate, uninformed about the elections.
“As I wasn’t aware about the existence of the elections before the nomination application deadline, my application was refused by the Chief Electoral Officer,” said Chkirate. However, after having appealed this decision, the Elections Appeals Committee reversed this decision.”
Although the DSU recognized this issue, the DSU Bylaws stipulate that a CEO must be maintained “at all times” (Bylaw VII).
Anthony Williams, the current Chairperson of the DSU, commented on the EC’s Facebook post announcing the new candidate to clarify the situation. He affirmed that this was “slightly an oversight,” that the DSU “meant no malice,” and that “in the past four elections,” the CEO has been selected at the same time period. However, it must be noted that Williams was Chairperson of the DSU last year as well when they only selected the CEO in late March instead of having one from the beginning of the school year.
The comment Williams left on the post also raises eyebrows about the EC’s decision as it is unclear whether the decision was made solely by the EC, which is supposed to be separated from the DSU, or if there was an external influence.
At this point in time, the addition of Chkirate does not mean that more candidates will be accepted, clarified the EC, because of polling days and because “accepting more candidates would be going against the rules.”
The first debate will be held April 20 at 2:30 at 4F.2, while the first day to vote will on April 25.
For more information and important announcements, follow the DSU Elections Commission @votedsu on Facebook.