February 25, 2017

Volume 145 Editor in Chief elected

Joseph Cattana elected Tuesday evening

Tuesday evening, it was announced that Joseph Cattana had been successfully voted in as the incoming Editor in Chief for Volume 145 (2017-18) of The Queen’s Journal.

Cattana, this year’s Sports Editor, ran against current News Editor Victoria Gibson. Cattana was elected with 41 votes, amounting to 66.1 per cent, while Gibson received 21 votes, totaling 33.9 per cent. Voter turnout for this election was significantly higher than recent years, with 62 of the 67 eligible voters — 92.5 per cent — taking part in the election.

This year’s election was done electronically — as opposed to previous year’s paper ballots — using the AMS’s Simply Voting system. Prior to the election, the Journal Advisory Board named the AMS’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Michael Poirier, and Chief Returning Officer (CRO), Rebecca Warrian, as the CEO and CRO to oversee The Journal’s elections — that in previous years had been overseen by the current Editors in Chief.

The voting began on Feb. 9 and was scheduled to end at 10 p.m. that evening, but was interrupted mid-way through when the elections team announced their decision to disqualify Gibson from the election due to ineligibility.

After two appeals were filed over the weekend opposing the decision, polls were reopened and the election period was extended. 

According to AMS Secretariat Miguel Martinez, who was part of the election team tasked with overseeing election rulings, it was determined that Gibson hadn’t paid her AMS specific Student Interest fee, making her ineligible.

“The CEO established that the only proper course of action was to disqualify Ms. Gibson. At that time Ms. Gibson filed an appeal to the Journal Advisory Board on the grounds that she was disqualified for factors outside of her knowledge and beyond her control,” Martinez wrote to The Journal on Wednesday.

The Journal Advisory Board met on Feb. 10 and ruled to deny Gibson’s appeal, Martinez wrote.

“Ms. Gibson then filed an appeal to the AMS Judicial Committee on grounds that there was a miscarriage based on the facts. The appeal was granted and it was mandated that Ms. Gibson be given the opportunity to run, pending her eligibility,” Martinez wrote.

“Ms. Gibson then filed an appeal to the AMS Judicial Committee on grounds that there was a miscarriage based on the facts. The appeal was granted and it was mandated that Ms. Gibson be given the opportunity to run, pending her eligibility,” Martinez wrote.

According to the Committee’s Feb. 13 report compiled by Blair Wentworth, AMS Judicial Committee Chair, the CEO was within his authority to apply the sanction of disqualification to Gibson in this case. 

However, they ruled that the decision did “not align itself with the principles of restorative justice, and as such, represents an injustice to not only Ms. Gibson, but also the Queen’s University community as a whole.”

Wentworth also noted that “the presence of a recused member of the Journal Board in the appeal deliberations” was a “major violation of Ms. Gibson’s due process, verging on negligence.”

“The belief of the Journal Board that this would not create a bias, or reasonable perception of bias, is absurd,” Wentworth wrote.

Wentworth also noted that “the presence of a recused member of the Journal Board in the appeal deliberations” was a “major violation of Ms. Gibson’s due process, verging on negligence.”

“The belief of the Journal Board that this would not create a bias, or reasonable perception of bias, is absurd,” Wentworth wrote.

Polls re-opened on Monday and stayed open until Tuesday evening, giving those who hadn’t voted yet a chance to do so, but any votes that had been cast prior to Gibson’s original disqualification remained the same.

“I couldn’t be happier with the democratic process that happened on Tuesday, but it’s important to remember that we had to fight for it to happen,” Gibson told The Journal on Wednesday. “The election process this year was a clear demonstration of how problematic AMS involvement in Journal elections can be.”

I couldn’t be happier with the democratic process that happened on Tuesday, but it’s important to remember that we had to fight for it to happen.

“While The Journal’s former voting system could benefit from more checks and balances to avoid potential bias, shifting it into the hands of the AMS this year wasn’t the right decision and I put my faith in Joe to steer The Journal into autonomous waters next year. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and a good heart in his chest, and that’ll take him everywhere.”

Cattana told The Journal on Wednesday that he “couldn’t stop smiling” when he heard the results. 

“The last few weeks were hectic, but I wouldn’t change anything,” Cattana said. “I just want to thank everyone who took the time to meet with me, sit down, and talk about the future of The Journal.”

The last few weeks were hectic, but I wouldn’t change anything.

Cattana says his campaign was “really focused on the people and the stories that have come to define this place” and that he looks forward to carrying on the great traditions of The Journal come May 1.

Cattana’s platform centers on increasing training and education for Journal staff, focusing on staff members’ mental health, increasing engagement with the student body and prioritizing a stronger emphasis on web content.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.