LSU mum on reason for disqualification

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Emma Leigha Munro was disqualified from holding positions in the LSU for unknown reasons. Photo: Jana Minor.

This may not be Libya, but you’d never know the difference when you compare the election rigging under Moammar Gadhafi to that of the Langara Students’ Union, said one student last week.

Emma Leigha Munro has been disqualified from three out of four previous LSU elections, despite receiving the most votes each time ballots were cast.

Unexplained alleged irregularities mar elections 

Recently she was elected environmental issues coordinator in October and held the seat for two weeks before being told by election committee staff member Donna Rainford-Cayenne she was disqualified.

The LSU website says, “Due to irregularities, the LSU board and elections committee have decided to host a by-election for the position of environmental issues coordinator.”

But no by-election has been announced and the semester is almost over. Furthermore, under proposed new bylaws, which are being voted on by students this week, all LSU elections will be cancelled until fall 2013.

As for the irregularities in the recent election, Adam Giesbrecht, LSU spokesman, released a written statement: “Emma did not abide by election policy regarding campaigning online. She was disqualified for that reason.” When asked to elaborate, Giesbrecht declined.

Punished for another’s article

An article in 24 Hours profiling Munro was released online during the voting period. According to election policy, candidates are restricted from campaigning online. The article featured Munro with the tagline “The Politician” in the 24 Under 24 series.

“I have no control whether a journalist wants to post an article, positive or negative, about me,” said Munro, who said she otherwise abided by the policy.

Long road to gain seat

Munro is a fourth-year bachelor of business student who is also in the design formation program. She is current president of the Langara Business Association. Munro first ran for the LSU in winter 2010, received the most votes, but was disqualified because one of her campaign handbills was found posted during election week. She said that any student could have posted it there who was unaware of election policy prohibiting posters during voting.

She ran again in summer 2010, but the LSU had just passed a motion barring anyone from running in the current election who was disqualified from the previous one. “They passed it during the election, so the entire election was cancelled, which sounds so democratic,” said Munro. “This was the time where Gadhafi was doing the same thing,” she added.

“I thought, ‘They’re never gonna let me into their union. So I’m going to run for the college position, and I get an honorary position on their board and there’s nothing they can do about it.’ So I ran and I won.”

Students elected to Langara’s education council, known as “college positions,” are sent as representatives to LSU board meetings. Munro said she went to every meeting and joined multiple internal committees.

“I was one of the people in there asking more questions than most people. Basically, I was whistle blowing, I guess,” she continued. “And for that I paid the price.”

When asked whether the LSU thinks the repeated disqualification of a candidate appears suspicious, Giesbrecht said, “I have no idea what the LSU thinks.”

Reported by Jana Minor

In this audio clip, Emma Leigha Munro talks about why she thinks she was disqualified multiple times from various LSU elections.

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