Members of the board for the appeal of disqualified St. Thomas University Students’ Union presidential candidate Eduardo Luiz Móntañez were decided in an emergency council meeting the afternoon of March 10.
The appeal’s board will consist of STUSU chairperson Jeremy Keats, Laura Robinson and Rae Jardin. Both Robinson and Jardin were suggested by Keats because they have experience on STU’s moot court team.
Robinson has also served on senate. Jardin has no connection to the Students’ Union or the recent general election.
“I think they are both impartial, they are both neutral … They are both very excited,” said Keats.
Both nominees were approved almost unanimously by the Student Representative Council. Two abstaining votes came from Móntañez and STUSU president-elect Philippe Ferland, both current voting members of the STUSU board.
Móntañez was disqualified from the STUSU spring general election by chief returning officer Erickson Miranda for not removing suspected false campaigning information in time and having more than the allowed number of posters in James Dunn Hall.
In an interview with The Aquinian Móntañez said he’s appealing this decision because he believes the disqualification was made on unfair grounds.
He said the information deemed “not accurate,” and “unacceptable” in his campaign literature such as him being a welcome week White Shirt was in fact correct. He also said he is sure he had 25 or less posters in James Dunn Hall.
He said he never received a verbal warning, only two written ones, which caused the disqualification.
Móntañez said the first warning could have been avoided. Since everything in doubt was proven to be correct according to him, a complaint became a written warning, and he believes that is not fair.
“I just wish [the warning] was specific and I was hoping that from here on forward that due diligence would be made prior to having something that is as official as a written warning. Because this could have been avoided,” he said. “There needs to be some sort of reform to determine when a complaint should turn into a warning,” Móntañez said.
“I was a bit surprised because I thought that prior to campaigning things like this would have been ironed out,” Móntañez said. “I ran on an election based on experience and my track record of service within the St. Thomas community. I also ran on the track record of me as an off-campus representative so if that part of my campaign has been taken out it was seem like I was just running [on nothing],” he said.
Regarding the second warning Móntañez said he campaigned last year as well, so he knew he was only allowed 25 posters.
“I made sure I had 25 in all of those [buildings],” he said. ” I sent the documents to Jeremy Keats, and I felt that the election could have been handled better and I did ask for a recasting of ballots for president because I feel like I was not given a chance.”
The appeal cannot take place until Robinson and Jardin are present at an SRC meeting on March 16 to sign a waiver.
Keats said while the evidence for the appeal will remain confidential, the appeal will be public. The date, time and place are to be announced. All the evidence shared at the hearing will be posted publicly as well.
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