Humber College students are heading to the polls over the next several days to select a Humber Students’ Federation president and two HSF board members. A student union by-election is itself highly unusual. The events that necessitated it are even more so.
During last year’s elections, former HSF president Tim Brilhante was disqualified from the race for unspecified campaign irregularities and was then denied the opportunity to appeal. Brilhante held a large lead at the time of his disqualification.
The elections continued and Shawn Manahan was elected president with less than 20 per cent of the popular vote.
At the subsequent Annual General Meeting, however, students voted 90-89 to reject the results of the presidential election.
As a result a by-election was called and with voting commencing today, Humber College has polls open until Sept. 30, with Manahan again contesting for the top executive role.
The Governance Review Committee met during the summer to discuss the student government’s policies board of directors chairperson Eric Collings said.
“We’re always going to be working on it to make it the best we can make it and currently right now I’m very happy with how it is. It’s better than prior years so that’s all that you can really do,” he said.
Collings said he has moved on from what happened last year with the elections but not having a president is regrettable.
“Having a by-election for the president is really unfortunate because now not only the president but the directors, they’ve lost out on a lot of training that they could have experienced during the summer,” he said.
Manahan is running for office for the third time. What happened last year was unfortunate for him but he has also moved on, he said.
“This year I’m running with three brand new competitors so hopefully I’ll win twice to get the job once and everything will be okay…We’ll see how it goes,” Manahan said.
Manahan noted he’s running with the same platform as last year, making raising HSF’s profile with students his main platform.
“What’s the point of federation if the majority of the students don’t know it’s there?” Manahan said.
Manahan is the only presidential candidate from last year running in the by-election.
“This whole by-election is like a second chance for new contestants to run who would have otherwise run in March. So it’s a waste of student money and time that could have been spent advocating for the students,” he said.
The presidential debate occurred on Sept. 23 and it is important to hear the differing views from all the candidates, former board of directors member Steven McInnis said.
“I really like that they were stressing that it’s a student organization and that they wanted to make sure that student concerns were heard,” McInnis said.
This was the first time McInnis had returned to school since last year as he is now an alumnus. He said what happened last year is behind him and he holds no regrets.
“I’m obviously still keeping an eye on what goes on around Guelph-Humber and Humber as I care passionately about the school,” said McInnis.