Team ERA drops out of AMS election

Chen and Parker apologize for harm caused by the circulated image

Team ERA from left to right: Elizabeth McHarg, Ryan Chen, Alicia Parker.

At around 2:50 p.m. on Feb. 4, Team ERA—Elisabeth McHarg, ArtSci ’23, Ryan Chen, Kin ’23, and Alicia Parker, ArtSci ’24—asked to be removed from the AMS elections ballot.

This action is in response to an image released at the AMS debate on Thursday of McHarg with a racist caption. Both Chen and Parker said in a post to the team’s official Instagram they don’t believe McHarg’s name should be present on the ballot.

In the social media story post, Chen and Parker said they are incredibly sorry to all the students or community who may have seen or read about this photograph.

“As a result of these actions, we agree that Elisabeth McHarg’s name should not be present on the upcoming AMS election ballot,” Chen and Parker said on their Instagram story.

Chen and Parker said they looked for ways to uphold their platform without having McHarg on the ballot after being informed they could not run in a slate of two.

“As a result, we have asked for Team ERA to be removed from the upcoming election. While the two of us still believe in the platform we built and are committed to the ideas and values presented there, we don’t believe Team ERA’s candidacy is worth the harm it will cause to the student body.”

At the end of the post, Chen and Parker expressed concern for all students who were negatively impacted and apologized for all harm caused.

Teams KMV—consisting of Kate McCuaig, ArtSci ’23, Michelle Hudson, ArtSci ’23, and Victoria Mills, ArtSci ’23—and TBD—consisting of Thomas Crawford, ArtSci ’23, Ben Bertin, ArtSci ’23, and Dante Caloia, ArtSci ’23—will be the only two teams on the ballot on Monday.

The AMS released a public statement around 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 4 expanding on their comments sent to The Journal on Feb. 3. The statement can be read in full on the AMS website.

The AMS continued to condemn the behaviour of McHarg in the distributed image, reiterating how the “harmful behaviours” don’t align with the core values and mandate of the organization. 

The statement made a commitment to consult relevant bodies—AMS Assembly, the AMS Board of Directors, and other stakeholders—on the future direction of elections policy. 

The AMS published a timeline of events in the statement. On Feb. 2 at 4 p.m., the AMS was preparing for the all-candidates debate when they were made aware of a “concerning allegation” through an anonymous question about an unspecified executive candidate. 

No official complaints had been submitted to the AMS at the time. The Society added a line in the debate moderator’s script telling the audience to email the AMS Secretariat if they had any concerns about “the comments made here tonight, the elections process, or the candidates.”

Between 7 to 9:30 p.m., more concerning questions were submitted via the debate question form. No immediate action could be taken, according to the AMS, as they had not seen the photo and did not know who submitted the questions.

The AMS learned of the airdropping of the photograph at around 9:30 p.m., immediately following the debate. Team ERA confirmed the authenticity of the photo to the AMS later that night.

On Feb. 3, the AMS started an internal investigation into election policies, according to their statement. They determined no appeals could be made to the Judicial Committee as a formal complaint wasn’t filed against ERA or McHarg.

The AMS received the first official complaint at 10:40 p.m. following the statement they sent to The Journal at 7:39 p.m. This statement gave the AMS grounds to continue the investigation, the statement said.

On Feb. 4, a second official complaint was received, and the elections team held an emergency elections team meeting at 1:53 p.m. Shortly thereafter, Team ERA contacted the Society to drop out of the election.


This article was updated with new information on Feb. 4 at 6:15 p.m.

More updates will be filed accordingly as information becomes available. 

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