Candidates sent messages asking students to vote for them
Adapt slate, winners of last week’s Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) 2021-2022 election, and For the Students, sent electronic messages asking students to vote for them, breaking election bylaws.
Jenna Rose, the chief returning officer told the Ryersonian “candidates were allowed to reach out to their fellow students digitally, via social media messages, texts, or calls,” contradicting the RSU election bylaws.
“Since this was an online election, we allowed students to message their peers for votes, but we gave them instructions to not send inappropriate messages,” Rose said in an email.
However, Rose did say that messages to course group chats are not permitted.
On March 22, The Eyeopener reported that “three editors from The Eyeopener masthead received messages with whom they had no prior relationship, urging them to vote.”
A member of the Ryersonian masthead also received a Slack message on March 17 from Darsh Gajera, one of Adapt’s Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) elected candidates. In the message, Gajera asked her to vote for Adapt and to send a screenshot for confirmation.
Gajera also sent a message with the same content to another prospective voter through Slack.
According to Section 6.69 of the RSU election bylaws, candidates are explicitly forbidden from campaigning via any form of electronic mail.
The 2021 election procedures code states that “the spirit of this article is to ensure that mass, unwanted communications are not received by those who may not want to receive this information.”
Maleha Yasmin, the elected vice-president equity, sent an Instagram message to a student on March 17, asking them to vote for Adapt slate and to let her know once they have voted.
“Hey could you please vote for Team Adapt for the RSU elections and also let me know when you voted? This would mean the world to me,” the message read.
Another Ryerson student received a similar message via Instagram from Priyanshi Mistry, the Adapt slate Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) candidate.
Though both teams were aware that messages to course group chats were not permitted, both Adapt and For the Students candidates sent messages to a graphic communications management chat.
For The Students executive candidate, Ashan Mahendran sent a message to the group chat asking students to vote.
There was also another message in the chat asking students to vote that was sent by Adapt team member, Mistry.
“Ashan sent that message, in which he gave a shout out to the other team’s candidates too, after they sent campaigning messages in the same group chat,” said David Jardine, the For the Students presidential candidate in a statement to the Ryersonian.
The previous message in the group chat was sent by Adapt team member, Mistry.
Mistry then deleted her message, and a screenshot of Mahendran’s message was taken.
“Ashan shouldn’t have sent those messages in the first place because it was against the rules, but the rules also made it very hard to campaign online,” Jardine said.
The Adapt slate team did not respond for comment.
It is unclear whether these messages will result in consequences for either team.
Section 6.35 of the elections procedure code states that if a candidate fails to comply with Section 6 of the document, this could result in disqualification.
Rose said more details surrounding the allowance of these messages will be in their report to the board.