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Tariq Khan’s presidency invalidated due to multiple bylaw infractions

Elections SSMU has invalidated Tariq Khan’s presidential win due to multiple bylaw infractions during the campaign period.

As a result of the invalidation, runner-up Courtney Ayukawa has been declared the president-elect for the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU). Ayukawa lost the presidential race to Khan by 78 votes on March 21.

Khan’s campaign period was marked by allegations of bylaw violations, including a public censure on March 21 for campaign activities carried out by individuals who were not members of Khan’s campaign team.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ben Fung said Elections SSMU received evidence that Khan violated more than this one bylaw during the campaign period.

“In the time following the elections we were made aware of several things, either through email, our own investigations, or requests for investigations of new information,” he said. “Part of our due diligence is to seek the testimony of all parties [….] We [took] all this information into consideration.”

According to Elections SSMU, Khan’s bylaw infractions include financial inconsistencies within his budget report, unsolicited messages regarding campaigning to SSMU members, and the “impingement of the spirit of a fair campaign and of the voting process.”

“We won’t go into more detail at this time because we want to respect the privacy of all the parties involved in this situation,” Fung said.

SSMU bylaws allow the CEO to invalidate an election if they deem “any grave violation of the Constitution, bylaws, or policies” to have “adversely affected the outcome of the election.”

According to Ayukawa, a petition to overturn the election was also submitted to the Judicial Board after Tariq’s election.

“The J-Board case was […] saying that Elections SSMU did not uphold the spirit of a fair campaign, which allowed Tariq to get the equivalent of at least 78 votes because he broke so many rules,” she said.

Incoming Vice-President University Affairs Claire Stewart-Kanigan said she was one of the students who communicated personal concerns about bylaw violations with Elections SSMU during the campaign period and following Tariq’s election. According to Stewart-Kanigan, the evidence from the petition will clarify the decision to students.

“There’ll be a lot of substantial evidence there,” she said. “Within the first day, I’d heard that Elections SSMU received 50 emails regarding concerns about campaign violations for Tariq’s team, so that’s really unprecedented.”

Now that Elections SSMU has invalidated the election, the Judicial Board case will not move forward. However, Ayukawa said the petition’s evidence may still be relevant if anyone contests the ruling made by Elections SSMU by filing a petition with the Judicial Board within five days.

Fung said the Judicial Board case did not have a significant impact on Elections SSMU’s decision.

“[The decision] wasn’t prompted by it,” he said. “We have been working on this for a very long time before the petition was submitted to the judicial board.”

According to Fung, Ayukawa was declared president-elect due to bylaws mandating that, in the case of an invalidation, the runner-up becomes the winner. In addition, there is not enough time left in the semester to run another election according to the by-laws.

Ayukawa expressed excitement at the news.

“I’m confident that I’ve established [trust] with a lot of the other candidates already,” she said. “I’m so incredibly excited and at a loss for words.”

Stewart-Kanigan said she supports the decision by Elections SSMU.

“SSMU faces a lot of criticism from students and it does face a lot of problems with student trust,” she said. “I think this is an important move for SSMU and for showing our dedication for upholding the spirit of fair transparent government grounded in integrity.”

At time of press, Khan could not be reached for comment.


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  1. what a surprise. Considering how they usually conduct politics

  2. This is ugly. Fuck SSMU and Ben Fung

  3. screwbenfung

    hahhahahaha fuck ayukawa, fuck ssmu and fuck ben fung. thanks for wasting 1785 votes today 🙂

  4. Quite the affair where a body of three people just ousted 1785 votes for reasons still not clearly made available to the voters. Works out for them as well when the remaining duration does not allow a re-election, considering the info in question was apparently available before and such a decision could have been made earlier to allow a re-vote.

    Also something like messages by someone to the masses can not be proved to be directly lead or orchestrated by any one Party head. The actions of any one person or a group in texting or spreading any form of message to the public, of which the party in question has no control over whatsoever, cannot be used as a means to justify the invalidation of their entire campaign with a generic “unfair” or “untrustworthy”.

    Somehow it all just looks to be fishy as clearly there is a case of double standards.

    • Lian Chang

      I disagree with you. Some people are saying that Ben Fung should release more detail and I disagree with that approach also, because all the people will then want to give their opinions and that is bad for the democratic process. The law says that Ben is the one who decides and I am sure he used his best judgement, I guarantee it. He chose the candidate with the least infraction accusations and he was right because it shows that they are the best more than the votes. Don’t be sad that your candidate did not win. The majority of the students of McGill have spoken and they all voted for Courtney who has the best smile 😉 . The dirty people of McGill voted for Tariq , Austin and Aaron who all used illegal ways to campaign and should be punished for their infraction.

  5. BenFungPresident

    Why the heck do we even need president??
    We got Ben Fung!

  6. mcgilltroll

    Okay all you haters need to chill out. You can’t just attack someone’s credibility or hate on them just because they might have made a decision you don’t agree with. If you have something CONSTRUCTIVE to say, or a problem with the decision, there are proper channels you can pursue. You know, something called J Board. http://ssmu.mcgill.ca/representation/judicial-board/ If you want evidence and proof of why this decision was made, you can J Board Elections SSMU. I’m sure someone else – if not Tariq Khan – is already on it.

    Before you go hating on J Board, I’ll have you know it consists of students from the Faculty of Law and operate independently from the executives. Like Elections SSMU, these two agencies are neutral and impartial.

    • Yes I agree. Besides Ben is a great guy and he chose the best gal Courtney .. she was wayyy better than all the 3 other candidates,I mean did you see her rap prince of bel air? that took a lot of guts to do. I am happy Ben made this happen regardless of the votes. Just because people voted for Tariq does not mean he is the best. Thanks Ben for fixing democracy <3 I'm really excited for next year, yey!

  7. Roguespierre

    Even if the decision was wrong,
    the Society must follow its CONSTITUTION or face the threat of SECESSION, CIVIL WAR, TERROR, and TOTALITARIANISM.

  8. Pingback: Tariq Khan files case to suspend his electoral invalidation | McGill Tribune

  9. Pingback: Quebec Superior Court rules against Tariq Khan’s interim injunction to be reinstated as SSMU President | McGill Tribune

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