Election day drama leads to exciting policy adjustments

At the beginning of the summer, Trevor Page, the chairman of the Electoral Committee, began revisions on the Student Union Election Policy and By Laws. The new policy was presented and passed at the Capilano Students Union (CSU) Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, October 27.

One of the major changes in the Policy deals with disqualifying a candidate before an election.  The reason for the clarification in the bylaw was because of a violation  that occurred last year.

Prior to the revision, the Executive Committee Policy stated in section 8.1, “Consequence of Misconduct: Violations of Bylaws and/or policies by a candidate may  result in a written warning given by the Electoral Committee or in the disqualification of the candidate, pending on the severity of the situation.”

The new policy now states in section 8.1.a: “Due to the severity of violating bylaw, any infraction thereof shall result in immediate disqualification and b: Any infraction of policy, unless otherwise specified, shall result in a warning. If the offense continues or a second infraction is committed disqualification
shall result.”

When asked for the reason for this change in wording , Trevor Page stated “We felt that by giving the Electoral Committee room to maneuver around whether they should give a warning or disqualification becomes very subjective. If a candidate violates policy or bylaws they are violating the election rules and something should come of it…the electoral committee is responsible for ensuring these policies and bylaws are upheld, how can they do that if they're not upholding them themselves?”

In a controversial incident last year, candidate Armando Cercenia was running for the position of Social Justice Coordinator. Cercenia violated the bylaw that stated no canvassing should take place within ten meters of a polling station.
He was disqualified and appealed the decision, and the following day
the decision was upheld at the appeal. However, the protocol for consequence of Misconduct was unclear, making these new changes necessary.

Another important change in the policy is that when a candidate is disqualified, his/her name is to be prominently displayed at the polling station, stating his disqualification.
However, only if the candidate gives permission, the electoral committee will display a short description of the infraction, a short explanation of the electoral procedures in relation to this issue, and the contact information of the electoral committee (in case of an appeal hearing).

The decision to withhold the candidate's infraction from the student body is meant to protect the candidate in the event that he/she decides to run again in the future.
Trevor Page added to this point “because a lot of the people running in these elections are still emerging in their careers and its their first time dealing with this type of stuff, that it was not fair to release the full information of the violation without their permission... for the simple fact that this is not World Politics and we're not dealing with fraud.”

A smaller but notable change in the policy is a decrease in the number of signatures needed for a nomination. The number needed went from fifteen down to five. This would affect potential first year or exchange candidates, who may not possess the social contacts that older students may have.

//Andrew Kirkpatrick

More information on the
Cercenia Case can be found at

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com