Appeal on Disqualification of Councillor-Elect Fails

CEO Accused of “Taking Sides”

Photo Ireland Compton

Judicial Board’s decision to disqualify Harvin Hilaire was upheld by Concordia Student Union council on Monday.

Hilaire was disqualified for running as a John Molson School of Business councillor, despite being enrolled in the arts and science faculty at the time of the election. He ran as a JMSB councillor because he was transfering into the faculty in September.

Chief electoral officer Florian Prual appealed the decision, saying the JB “didn’t properly assess the situation [or] contact Harvin to collect more information.”

The faculty under which Hilaire cast his vote was used as evidence in the ruling, but Prual argued this information is supposed to be confidential to retain voter anonymity and that the decision was therefore baseless.

As Hilaire wasn’t given the opportunity to defend himself, Prual thinks the JB didn’t follow the appropriate procedure.

“It’s Florian’s fault Harvin didn’t get to speak,” said councillor James Hanna.

Each side in a hearing provides the Judicial Board with a list of witnesses, according to its code of procedures.

JB member Shai Navi emphasized Hilaire has only been accepted into JMSB, and his registration will only be made official in September. If his disqualification were reversed, his mandate as a JMSB councillor would begin in June, when he would still be registered as an arts and science student.

“This is an example of the many gaps in the system of the CSU.” —Ahmadou Sakho

The conversation was derailed temporarily, as Navi voiced concerns about how changing the standing regulations would open the door to CEGEP students running for council after receiving their acceptance letters from Concordia.

However, students are only eligible to run for office after paying their union fees in September, according to student life coordinator Eduardo Malorni.

“This is a frivolous appeal,” said academic and advocacy coordinator Patrick Quinn, who filed the original complaint against Hilaire. Quinn accused Prual of taking sides, arguing the CEO should remain impartial.

Prual’s appeal was defended by councillor Elizabeth Tasong, who argued that Prual was defending his own decision to let Hilaire run under JMSB.

“This is an example of the many gaps in the system of the CSU,” said councillor Ahmadou Sakho. “If [Prual] thinks the JB decided wrong, he’s allowed to say so.”

“Council can agree he’s not in JMSB right now,” said Quinn. “It’s council’s job to uphold the rules […] The JB’s decision is reasonable.”

The motion failed seven to four, with six abstentions, upholding the JB decision to block Hilaire from council.