Update: Team CSG appeal denied

Greg Radisic, Colin Zarzour and Sarah Anderson of Team CSG at the AMS executive debate in January.
Journal File Photo

The AMS Judicial Committee has denied an appeal by Team CSG to disqualify Team LWT and declare CSG the incoming AMS executive.

Although it was a public hearing, the AMS Judicial Committee failed to inform The Queen’s Journal, as mandated in their policy, until the decision had been made. Team LWT was also not informed of the appeal while the hearing was ongoing.

AMS Communications Officer Jessamine Luck told The Journal that there is nothing in policy that states that Team LWT must be informed of an appeal filed against them.

Team CSG filed the official appeal to the AMS Judicial Committee three days after their defeat in the AMS executive election by a close margin of 0.6 per cent. Through the appeal, Team CSG sought to disqualify the newly-elected Team LWT.

Click here for previous coverage of the appeal.

After reviewing the appeal, the AMS Judicial Committee voted unanimously to deny Team CSG’s claims.

According to documents obtained by The Journal, the appeal centered on alleged violations of AMS campaign policy by Team LWT. The evidence provided by Team CSG to support their allegations included:

  • The continued use of chalkboards after campaign period had ended, with a representative of Team CSG having found “VOTE LWT” on the blackboard in Dunning 11.
  • Violations of rules surrounding the maximum number of posters permitted in Humphrey Hall.
  • The scattering of Team LWT business cards in hallways and in various classrooms around campus after campaign period had ended.
  • Attempts to pressure students to vote for LWT via personal messages.
  • Accusations of misrepresenting Team LWT through a graphic released by a CSG volunteer, while Team LWT was not held accountable to the same rules.

Team CSG’s submission claimed that the AMS Elections Team had failed to rule appropriately on violations of policy by Team LWT, which it stated contributed to an “uneven playing field”. 

George Collister, the Chair of the AMS Judicial Committee, received the complaint from Colin Zarzour, the presidential candidate of CSG, last week according to an AMS press release.

The AMS Judicial Committee held an appeal hearing on Feb. 3. Members of Team CSG — Colin Zarzour, Sarah Anderson and Greg Radisic — were represented by former AMS President Allison Williams while Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Simone Markus and Chief Returning Officer (CRO) Rebecca Herweyer represented the Elections Team.

Markus, the acting CEO on the Elections Team, was the same CEO linked to the nullification of the fall referendum for not having paid her student fees. Luck confirmed with The Journal that the CEO was reinstated in a “second hiring period” after she had paid her student fees. Markus is now a confirmed member of the AMS.

Collister said The Journal wasn’t contacted about the appeal because he had received the complaint instead of the Judicial Clerk, who would have typically notified The Journal. Collister said they’re reviewing the Judicial Office’s procedures to ensure that the error doesn’t happen again.

Collister also confirmed that the Judicial Committee’s ruling was unanimous.

“[For the appeal to have succeeded] there would have to be clear and compelling evidence that one team was treated unjustly and there was a miscarriage of justice,” Collister said.

The committee instead ruled that each piece of evidence put forth by Team CSG was not indicative of fault on the part of the Elections Team and denied the appeal.

In an official decision document provided to The Journal, the Judicial Committee stated that the Elections Team is not an investigatory body. The Committee also ruled that the CEO had taken due diligence to maintain a level playing field by informing both teams that “private messages and email may be continued to be used, but with caution” and by defining misrepresentation as making “blatantly untrue statements.”

“Team CSG may disagree with the Elections Team’s decision not to apply sanctions to Team LWT in a variety of instances - however, it is the opinion of this Committee that the Elections Team applied uniform interpretation of policy to both teams throughout the election,” the decision read.

The decision continued to state that the Committee can’t lessen that standard simply because a small number of votes decided the election.

Click here for full election results.

“We also cannot speculate on what the “natural outcome” of the election may have been had different sanctions been applied.”

Colin Zarzour told The Journal that Team CSG is “disappointed”, but are looking to the future now that the appeal has been denied.

“We are disappointed with the results, but we acknowledge the judicial committee's [sic] authority on the matter. We, the three of us, would like to focus on moving forward,” he wrote in a statement via Facebook Messenger.

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