By Preeteesh Peetabh Singh
No more campaigning, no more flyers, no more posters, no more class visits, no more polls, no more ballots and no more elections. After a hustling couple of weeks at George Brown College (GBC), campus life is returning to its routine. The Student Association (SA) general election 2013 at GBC is finally over, and the results are out.
34 candidates ran for 16 positions (excluding five vacant positions) in the elections. The Students First slate registered a massive victory with 12 of their 15 candidates winning, whereas the opposition slate Unified 4 Change, managed a single consolation win for an uncontested position out of their eight candidates. Also, three out of 11 independent candidates won in the elections.
Voter turnout remained low with 1430 voters over the period of five days. Community Services and Early Childhood had the lowest turnout with just 91 (3.9 per cent) ballots cast out of 2332 eligible voters, whereas Hospitality and Culinary Arts had the highest with 10.78 per cent voter participation.
Incumbent board members stamped their authority on the elections with seven wins out of 10. Real Nompumelelo Kunene, Nikhil Gulati and Chris Bourque couldn’t make the cut, whereas Mohammad Ali Aumeer, Julia K. Mackenzie, Halley Requena-Silva, Nicolas Kiriakou, Thomas Hadwen, Kyle Rodgers and Coty Zachariah were re-elected.
The election witnessed some major upsets. Ali Shahid surprised a lot of people piling up 668 votes (the most for any contested position) defeating incumbent board member Real Nompumelelo Kunene who added up 410 for the director of Public Relations. Geneve Gray, an independent candidate, had 536 votes in her kitty to become the director of Finance and Operations, against the incumbent International Students’ Rep. Nikhil Gulati who managed only 400.
There were some close calls too. The race between Mohammad Ali Aumeer (610) and Cassandra Thompson (514) for director of Education and Equity; Nick Dilawri (108) and Sebastian Sannes (97) for Business Rep.; Kal Bekele (81), Jessica Romanovsky (72) and Nik-Keisha Moodie (69) for Hospitality and Culinary Arts Rep. went to the wire. The difference between the winner and runner-up in the Hospitality department was only nine votes.
Kal Bekele, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Rep. elect said, “In the beginning I thought I would lose. But when I tried working hard I felt confident. I thought my biggest competition was Avanish Agarwal. He was promoting hard and getting people to vote for him.”
Agarwal. placed fourth with 61 votes and was disqualified by the Chief Returning Officer for a major infraction surrounding his comment calling fellow candidate Yuchen Sun a “chinki” in a photograph on Facebook, which he shared publicly.
“I did not know that it is considered as a
racist comment. It’s a social scam on me creating an image that I am being a racist.” said Agarwal. The Election Resolution Committee met on Tuesday, March 19 and made a decision on the issue. Legal counsel was present at the meeting. “I have been invited as a guest for the meeting. Let’s see how it goes. I will let the law say what I want to say.”
An updated version of the unofficial elections results were posted on Wednesday, March 20, listing Agarwal as disqualified indicating that the elections resolution committee had rejected Agarwal’s appeal.
With files from Mick Sweetman.
For complete elections results please see: Unofficial results from the Student Association elections