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Vice-president (academic) candidate remains disqualified following second DIE Board appeal

The DIE Board decided uphold the rulings made by the CRO Jacob Verghese, as they found he did not break bylaw.

On March 21, the Discipline, Interpretation, and Enforcement (DIE) Board released its decision regarding vice-president (academic) candidate Farah Elgaweesh’s appeal of several rulings made by chief returning officer (CRO) Jacob Verghese, which disqualified her from the 2024 Students’ Union (SU) elections.

On March 13, Elgaweesh’s first hearing was held, and she successfully appealed ruling #5. The DIE Board lowered her fines from the ruling, but she remained over the the $550 candidate spending limit.

On March 18, Elgaweesh’s second hearing occurred. She sought to overturn rulings #7, #8, and #16. In both rulings #7 and #8, Verghese issued a monetary fine to Elgaweesh, of $26 and $25 respectively.

Ruling #7 alleged that Elgaweesh’s campaign manager conducted illegal campaigning in the Students’ Union Building (SUB).

Ruling #8 alleged that Elgaweesh’s campaign team acted in bad faith during a conflict between her campaign’s volunteer and Vice-president-elect (academic) Layla Alhussainy’s campaign manager.

Ruling #16 alleged that Elgaweesh didn’t distance herself from the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and the group’s alleged proxy-campaigning. Elgaweesh was neither fined nor disqualified in this ruling.

Elgaweesh alleges Verghese breached the complaint procedure, DIE Board disagrees

At the second hearing, Elgaweesh alleged that Verghese breached bylaw 320.16.3, the complaint procedure for the CRO. According to Elgaweesh, Verghese didn’t rule on rulings #7, #8, and #16 within two business days after receiving the complaints.

Additionally, Elgaweesh alleged that Verghese “did not fulfill the conditions of regulation 320.16.3(a) in working with DIE Board and SU governance staff to follow the appropriate process required for the extension of the investigation period,” according to the DIE Board’s decision.

The DIE Board found that Verghese did not break bylaw, as he emailed Elgaweesh about the contraventions at 10:06 a.m. on March 7 — within two business days of the complaints. The DIE Board found Verghese’s emails were “a clear form of information on the contraventions being ruled on.” Additionally, the DIE Board noted that the final written and published rulings are “not the only form in which rulings can be constituted.”

As the DIE Board did not find a breach of bylaw, they did not overturn the rulings.

The Gateway reached out to Elgaweesh for comment on the DIE Board’s decision. In an email comment, Elgaweesh said that this decision didn’t address the concerns she raised.

“[The ruling] didn’t answer the valid concerns raised in my appeal or hearing about the merit behind the rulings, and the different treatment that different candidates received throughout the campaign period. So, I am quite disappointed.”

In a video posted to her Instagram, Elgaweesh said that she was “disappointed in the system.”

“I think on so many levels, it was an unfair decision.”

The Gateway reached out to the Elections Office for comment, which they declined.

Dylana Twittey

Dylana Twittey is the 2023-24 News Editor. She is a second-year student studying history. In her free time, she enjoys watching 90s Law and Order, cooking, and rereading her favourite books for the fifth time.

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