Student elections season is well underway and it wouldn’t be complete without a scandal or two. I’ve set my sights on the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) where students will elect their next executive and board of administration from February 9 to 11, 2015. For the first time in years, Ryerson students have an alternative to the stale, tired dynasty: Transform RU has put together a full slate of students to take on the Unite Ryerson slate. The latter is part of a line of succession made up of fist-pumping personalities strongly associated with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). At the time of publication, Transform RU’s Facebook page had over 1300 likes as opposed to Unite Ryerson’s Facebook page which was just shy of 600 likes.
Unite Ryerson candidate’s repugnant comments made public
The Ryersonian and The Eyeopener are both reporting that the vice-president education candidate from the dynasty slate Unite Ryerson, Zidane Mohamed, published hateful comments via his personal Twitter account back in December 2014.
His Twitter account is now protected which only allows his followers to view his tweets. However, Mohamed’s Twitter profile links to his Instagram account which then links to the Toronto Young Communist League’s Facebook page with the tagline “Lenin is pretty sexy”. In a statement published on its Facebook page, the Unite Ryerson slate stated that it found Mohamed’s comments to be “reactionary, inflammatory, and insensitive”. The statement then attempts to justify his statements “were posted within the context of a larger conversation around race, racial profiling and police brutality… These comments were made in a state of emotional distress.” It then tactfully weave in the fact that “the Unite Ryerson team believes students at Ryerson deserve a campus environment free from hate, discrimination and violence.” Too bad one of their own simply won’t represent those values in the minds of many students. Mohamed’s comments have even raised the ire of Ryerson University’s president, Sheldon Levy who described the comments as “disgusting”.
Unite Ryerson’s website hacked
That wasn’t Unite Ryerson’s only headache: It’s original website URL, www.uniteryerson.ca, was hacked and rendered into a gag. The alleged hacker spoke with The Eyeopener who was quickly able to prove that he/she was in fact in control of the domain. The Unite Ryerson slate has since moved its site over to www.uniteryerson.com.
Transform RU posters defaced
Posters of Transform RU candidates have been repeatedly defaced throughout the campaign. Transform RU vice-president operations candidate Obaid Ullah’s poster is pictured in an Eyeopener article with “ISIS 4 life!” inscribed with pink highlighter. Ana Sofia Vargas Garza, another Transform RU candidate, also had her posters disfigured with mustaches drawn on her face which, according to The Eyeopener, makes light of her Mexican heritage. However, she has found a positive spin to this unfortunate racism: See @Sofia_V and #peoplewithstaches.
Here’s to a spirited finale to this and other student elections across the country.
UPDATE – February 16, 2015
The Unite slate dynasty has finally come to an end. Once the ballots were counted, Transform RU, the first slate to challenge the Unite slate since 2011, swept all 5 executive positions and won a majority of the 23 faculty director seats in the RSU elections. Unite Ryerson did however avoid being completely shut out by winning rest of the faculty director seats. Ryerson students have spoken.