MCRC election heats up

Team MCF presents their appeal against Team GAP in front of the judicial committee.
Team MCF presents their appeal against Team GAP in front of the judicial committee.

The Main Campus Residence Council (MCRC) elections took a turn last Tuesday as both teams spoke in front of an AMS Judicial Committee (JCOMM) hearing.

Team MCF, which consists of presidential candidate Josh McCaul, ArtSci ’13, vice-presidential (Residence Affairs) candidate Tuba Chishti, ArtSci ’14, and vice-presidential (Discipline) candidate Wesley Forget, ArtSci ’13, claimed that, TeamGAP misrepresented the residence non-academic discipline system in their campaign.

Team GAP consists of presidential candidate George Huang, MSc ’13, vice-presidential (Residence Affairs) candidate Pooja Kumar, Comm ’12, and vice-presidential (Discipline) candidate Alexandra Shaw, ArtSci ’13.

McCaul said that members of the team GAP were telling students during their class talks, that the current non-academic discipline system would be changed to an academic system in the future. This would mean that anytime a student would breach a code of conduct in residence, it would appear on the student’s official transcripts.

Currently there are no plans in changing the residence non-academic discipline system.

McCaul said team MFC filed a complaint to Paolo Uy, chief electoral officer for MCRC, last Thursday. According to McCaul, the issue was taken more seriously when individuals and dons complained that the future of discipline was being misrepresented.

“Mr. Uy talked with them on Thursday night. He testified at JCOMM that he initially instructed them not to talk about the discipline at all, or to clarify what they meant,” he said. Despite the warning from Uy, McCaul said team GAP restructured their speech about the non-academic discipline system but it was still a focal point of their platform.

“There’s no point in mentioning it when the system itself is not changing,” he said, adding that he took a video of one of their class talks and presented to Uy.

“I took a legal video. They contested the legality; however it was a video of private use in a public sphere,” he said.

After presenting Uy with the evidence, McCaul said team GAP was contacted on Saturday morning and were told that they were receiving a 48 hour suspension on their campaign period. This would result in the team not being able to campaign from midnight on Saturday until the end of the campaign period. Following Uy’s decision, McCaul said that team MCF felt that the penalty was not harsh enough and appealed to the Judicial Affairs Office, to appeal Mr. Uy’s penalty.

The hearing was brought to the Judicial Committee (JCOMM) and the appeal failed. McCaul said that the team will seek further appeal.

“I sat down with myself at the beginning of the election. I said if we lose, it’s something that we failed to do. However because of this … we feel that if we lose it may be based on what they may have done,” he said, adding that if team GAP wins, they will look for formal disqualification of team GAP due to them misrepresenting MCRC.

Team GAP vice-presidential (Residence Affairs) candidate Pooja Kumar said that the team’s intent was never to misrepresent MCRC and it was a misunderstanding between both teams.

“Our platform basically was aiming to maintaining the current non-academic discipline system,” Kumar said.

“We definitely have clean intentions and did not mean any of the allegations made,” she said, adding that although the team does not agree with the allegations made against them, they do respect the decisions made.

Kumar said that the team was told by Uy that they were to be clearer in explaining what they were trying to convey to students. Team GAP said the miscommunication lay in their attempts to highlight the unique nature of Queen’s non-academic discipline. Initially the team was trying to show that they would work towards maintaining the uniqueness of the discipline. Kumar said the team never had any intentions of implying that the discipline was to change to an academic format.

After the warning from Uy, Kumar said the team changed the way they presented the idea to students.

“Although a video was recorded without our permission, we ensured that we had clarified what was meant to be clarified,” she said.

Kumar said that although her team had emphasized the maintenance of the non-academic discipline, so did team MFC.

“I guess if someone says that something will be maintained it can seem to imply that it may be changed,” she said.

Although according to team GAP team MCF had also mentioned the maintenance of the system, team GAP was not allowed to speak in regards to that at the Judicial Committee hearing, as they were only there to formally answer questions.

Emily Steer, the chair of Judicial Committee, and the seven members of her committee listened to team MCF’s appeal to Paolo Uy’s decision. The hearing officially titled; “Team MCF appeals the decision of MCRC chief electoral officer, Paolo Uy” was held last Tuesday. Steer said that traditionally the process takes longer, however due to the urgency of the situation the hearing was attended to more quickly.

She said that the role of the Judicial Committee is to determine whether or not the appeal meets policy. This means that the committee decided if the measures taken by Paolo Uy was appropriate. Steer said, after she decided to entertain the appeal, the committee listened to both teams and Uy. They also welcomed witnesses form both teams.

“Our role is to hear the case of the appellant and the respondent and decide if Mr. Uy made a reasonable decision,” she said. “So we are not deciding whether we think if the punishment was appropriate or what the punishment should have been, but rather if Mr. Uy, in all of his knowledge, made the right decision.”

The MCRC voting was postponed by 24 hours due to technical problems within the voting system.

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