Student election causing controversies

Three potential election candidates claim unfair electoral practices are keeping them from making much needed changes to the University of Regina Students’ Union.

Former candidate for Vice President of Student Affairs, Josiah Dondo felt as though he needed to withdraw due to alarming issues amongst the student union.

“Some of the issues I’ve encountered is that the election is being run unfairly. I tried posting something critical of URSU, but I don’t think they’re letting their candidates be open enough about the actual issues they’re facing,” said Dondo.

“Even during the debate when questions came up that were critical, every time an actual important issue was brought up it was shut down,”

Former Candidate, Josiah Dondo

URSU’s chief returning officer declined to comment on some of the concerns raised by the candidates.

The 2023 URSU General Election contains an information and nomination package that offers the public and potential candidates’ guidelines to follow.

It states: “To maintain a fair and democratic process, URSU is required to hire a Chief Returning Officer to oversee the election process. This person is in charge of ensuring that URSU Election By-laws are followed and that any disputes and conflicts are dealt with properly and in a timely manner.”

When questioned what disputes and conflicts may lead to revoke one’s candidacy, Chief Returning Officer (CRO) Ebenezer Fordjour responded via email stating,

“Unsatisfactory nominations including verification process for eligibility by the University administration, may lead to a nomination not being accepted and therefore not officially a candidate,”

A verification process that many feel was far too harsh and biased.

Comparing to past elections in terms of eligibility concerns, Fordjour stated,

“As far as i’m concerned the rules have not changed from the past few elections.”

Multiple candidates, present and former, have alluded to issues regarding hiring practices, financial improprieties and an alleged toxic environment.

“In the short term, what we can do is replace some people, and make it so the rules are being assessed by the university rather than individual students who can manipulate it themselves,” said an anonymous source who was an elected member of URSU.

“It’s a gang that’s been formed, and is pocketing money and essentially getting jobs at the university. The problem is still much bigger than people can understand,”

In response to the claims of a toxic environment, Fordjour replied with,

“No comment.”

There are three candidates for the position of president, two for vice president of external affairs and five for the Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG).

A former candidate, who wishes to remain anonymous, had their nomination disqualified for unclear reasons.

“URSU, as a student platform should allow us to speak our mind,” said the former candidate.”Even if it’s directed towards what they do, but being involved with that process they had a very strict guideline on how you get to talk about URSU.

“URSU basically enforces that part too harshly, and that ended up not giving the students the ability to speak their mind and be true to themselves, that’s why a lot of people drop out or do something URSU does not like and causes them to get kicked out.”




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