By Julieanne Acosta, October 12 2022—
Every year, the Students’ Union (SU) of the University of Calgary holds a general election in March to elect a new Student Legislative Council (SLC). If positions are left vacant following that, the SU holds a by-election in the fall semester.
With campaigns beginning this week, students can expect to see candidates talking to those passing by in MacEwan Hall and posters of the candidates throughout campus. It is throughout this time that students can really begin to learn more about the candidates running to decide who they want to vote for.
All students will be able to vote for a Vice President External and the Board of Governors Student-At-Large. Additionally, students will be able to vote for their respective faculty representatives.
The race for VP External was cut short during the previous general election as a result of an invalidation by the Review Board. The Review Board is responsible for judicial decisions within the jurisdiction of the SU. Students may go to the board should they believe their rights were violated by the SU’s constitution, bylaws, procedures or policies.
With a three-person race currently underway, Mateusz Salmassi was the student who went to the Review Board due to his nomination of candidacy for VP External being voided on the grounds that he is an international student — effectively barring Salmassi from the race and leaving the race with one sole candidate.
“The Review Board ruled unanimously in our favour and then my would-have-been opponent filed an appeal against that decision which escalated things to the tribunal,” said Salmassi.
The tribunal is above the Review Board and can choose to uphold, overturn or amend their decisions.
“After a long arduous appeal process, in which the SU submitted a brief in support of the appellant, the tribunal ruled in our favour and upheld the Review Board’s decision,” said Salmassi.
“We have only seen the short form version of the tribunal’s decision that upholds the Review Board’s decision and rejects the grounds of the appeal,” said Salmassi’s campaign manager, Isabelle Reynolds.
Both Salmassi and Reynolds note that the judicial processes they had to go through to allow for Salmassi to run were overwhelming.
“To expect anybody else to go through this would be completely disconnected from reality,” said Reynolds.
“The nomination’s package is now very clear that international students have the right to run for any position,” said Salmassi. “We really need an international students association. There’s one at the University of Alberta that we can look to. I just want all international students to know that they can run for any position they please.”
As no one chose to run for VP Operations and Finance, the position will continue to remain vacant since previously elected Taimur Akhtar is no longer in the position.
Voting runs from Oct. 12-14. Students can vote on their U of C portal or in person. To view the candidates’ platforms, visit the SU’s website.