UMGSA disqualifies candidate, removes CRO from position

Elections committee rules candidate unfairly campaigned, CRO sent slanderous emails

In two reports released by the University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association’s (UMGSA) elections committee Monday, the committee announced it had disqualified a candidate who tied for an executive position, approved an appeal made by the current UMGSA president and removed the CRO from his position.

The decisions follow UMGSA general elections that saw the vice-president services and support position come to a tie with independent candidate Okechukwu Efobi and Experience UMGSA slate member Eric Gagnon collecting 299 votes each.

The appeal approved by the UMGSA elections committee was filed by current UMGSA president Carl Neumann and concerned CRO Ademola Adesola’s failure to penalize Efobi for an expense overrun of $0.39.

Neumann — who ran unopposed — said in an email he filed the appeal concerning Adesola “regarding the CRO’s failure to subsequently apply a non-optional penalty, as explained in my submissions to the committee.”

Efobi later accused Neumann of infringing on his privacy by accessing the reimbursement documentation. Neumann said he had not seen the forms and had heard the CRO speak openly about the overrun, and only filed an appeal after it was apparent Adesola had not given Efobi a demerit.

Adesola denies speaking publicly about the overrun.

Typically, if an election results in a tie, the UMGSA requires a run-off vote “within 14 days of the final recount of the ballots of the general election.”

However, Neumann’s appeal was approved April 1 by the elections committee, which resulted in a demerit of five per cent of votes — or 14.9 votes— taken away from Efobi, resulting in the tie breaking and Gagnon being named the VPSS.

Further, after Efobi sent an email to members of the UMGSA council accusing Neumann of “spying” and asking he apologize and resign from the position, he was disqualified from the position. The committee determined the email constituted pre-campaigning before the run-off period and therefore qualified as “actively campaigning against the Experience UMGSA,” which is grounds for instant disqualification under the UMGSA’s election and referendum policy and procedure manual.

Adesola was removed from the UMGSA elections committee effective immediately after confronting Neumann outside the March 27 council meeting. The committee determined Adesola violated the association’s code of conduct — in particular, the sections that state members must treat other council members with respect, must not assist any member if the help “may result in real or apparent preferential treatment to that person or organization by the GSA” and that members must not make use of confidential information.

Adesola, who maintains he did not provide Neumann with confidential information, called the committee’s process “flawed.”

The decision to remove Adesola from both positions was based on what the report called “a thread of slandering and accusatory emails” sent by him to members of the UMGSA council.