AMS campaigns get personal

OISE Open House

Team CYZ internal e-mail containing Panjwani Facebook conversation leaked

Team CYZ presidential candidate Michael Ceci (left) and Team MAP presidential candidate Colin McLeod discuss the University’s finances and opposition research in this issue.
Team CYZ presidential candidate Michael Ceci (left) and Team MAP presidential candidate Colin McLeod discuss the University’s finances and opposition research in this issue.

This year’s AMS election campaign is not as clean as AMS speaker Mike Koichopolos suggested in his closing comments Wednesday night at the presidential candidates debate.

At last night’s ASUS Assembly meeting, AMS executive team candidates addressed comments MAP vice-president (university affairs) candidate Suhail Panjwani made last August on Facebook.

The comment, part of a conversation with a friend, said “yo nigga im fine …ive beat these Indian rapest off with bamboo sticks.”

The session was intended to be a question and answer period for members of ASUS. Teams preempted questions to comment on the situation.

“I made a racially charged comment on Facebook about seven to eight months ago. I felt at that time I was entitled to use that sort of language simply due to the colour of my skin. I am not the same person I was eight months ago,” Panjwani said in a statement. “I hope I have not hurt anyone.”

Panjwani, ConEd ’09, said he initially found out about the e-mail early this week.

“On Monday, I found out five, 10 minutes before my debate that an e-mail had been sent with a [comment] I had made during the summer.”

Using a fake name, Team CYZ volunteer Dylan Stogran forwarded the e-mail to the Journal Monday night. Both teams were informed of the e-mail.

It was discovered the e-mail came from Team CYZ’s campaign research. Michael Ceci’s name was visible in the screen shots as being logged into Facebook on the computer from which the shot was taken.

“One of our campaign members, a first-year student, sent out the image under a false alias. He got it from an e-mail in the campaign,” CYZ presidential candidate Ceci said. “The e-mail was sent by myself, by the campaign team.”

Ceci, ArtSci ’09, said Facebook profiles of Team MAP were

searched as part of opposition research. Because Stogran participated in opposition research, he had passwords and login information for Ceci’s computer. After taking the screen shot, the team decided to keep Panjwani’s comments within the campaign of Team CYZ.

“There was no goal. There were four people that ever saw it. We mutually decided that this is not the tone of the campaign.” Stogran was fired as soon as the team found out he had released the e-mail, Ceci said.

Teams found out yesterday that ASUS Assembly members had received an e-mail including the screen shot.

“Both teams came together. We had heard ASUS Assembly was well aware of this issue,” Ceci said.

After Team CYZ found out about the leaked e-mail, the campaign manager from each team watched Stogran delete the files from his own computer. Neither team knows who sent the e-mail out a second time nor how that person accessed the screen shot.

Following a standing ovation for Panjwani at ASUS Assembly last night, Ceci stated his team’s support for Panjwani’s apology.

“I would just like to say on behalf of Team CYZ we truly believe that Suhail’s apology has been genuine,” he said.

Ceci said both teams felt a discussion surrounding the issue was best left for another time.

“We didn’t feel that that was a safe and conducive space to facilitate that discussion at that time.”

Both teams said they encouraged students to contact them following ASUS Assembly.

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