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St. Thomas University’s Student Unions’ chief returning officer, Katelyn Rushton, was fired on Thursday.
The decision was made by students’ union president John Hoben and vice-president Fin Mackay-Boyce, following an illegal candidates meeting Thursday morning.
At the time of publication, Rushton refused comment beyond this brief statement on Facebook:
“I simply wish to have the time and space to process this in a manner of my choosing. I still hold a great deal of respect for Fin and John and I know they are doing what they deem necessary. Nobody can fault them for doing what they feel is right.”
Mackay-Boyce said the student union wasn’t giving details because “It’s a human resources matter.”
Hoben added: “It was definitely the right thing to do.”
Rushton’s dismissal was announced at the Students’ Representative Council meeting Thursday night. Mackay-Boyce and Hoben presented a motion to act as co-chief returning officers until the end of the appeals process following the election. They said it was the best way to ensure the by-election still happens on time. Neither will receive any additional compensation for the time spent on the election in addition to their regular duties.
Candidates complained about the planning of a candidate’s meeting for 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 27, which they were not notified of until 12:30 a.m., just 10 hours before the meeting was supposed to take place.
One of the candidates, Rodrigo Flores, doesn’t have a computer at home and didn’t see the e-mail until after his morning class.
“I missed the meeting because I didn’t get to check my email until 11:30 a.m. and by then the meeting had already happened,” Flores said.
Samuel Titus found the process strange. He also could not be at the 10:30 a.m. meeting.
“I checked my email at 11:30 p.m. and there still wasn’t anything. Then I saw the one about the meeting and then the next one was letting us know she wasn’t the CRO anymore,” Titus said.
The St. Thomas University Students’ Union by-laws state a candidates meeting will occur “on the day between nominations and campaigning.” They do not say how much notice the CRO must give candidates of the meeting.
Article 1 of the by-laws reads “The president of the Students’ Union shall issue writs of election.” Article 1.2 gives the CRO power over all further matters pertaining to the election.
SRC meeting minutes from Aug. 30 have the dates for the fall election set for Sept. 24 and 25. The minutes state Rushton was present.
Based on this and other by-laws, the call for nominations should have gone out during Welcome Week.
A second candidates meeting took place in Hoben’s office at 3 p.m. on Sept. 28. Most candidates were able to attend. Voting will take place on Oct. 4 and 5 with the usual post-election party happening at the Cellar.