Pearce vs. Prestion: Round 2

The epic battle between Gavin Preston and Brett Pearce over the 2003 Students’ Union General Election will conclude again on Bermuda Shorts Day.

In February, Preston defeated Pearce in the race for the SU vice-president operations and finance position.

In March, Pearce requested that the SU Review Board examine the VP Op-Fi race. Pearce contended that Preston had violated SU election and governance bylaws during and after his campaign. The Review Board found that the dissemination of Preston’s platform to SU clubs via the Clubs Chair Edward Tse, his incomplete campaign posters, and the persistence of his campaign message on the Rock after the election was completed did not materially affect the election.

On Mar. 23, the SU Review Board released its decision that Preston had violated three election bylaws, and suspended Preston’s SU membership until May 1, 2003 at which time his privileges will resume, allowing him to become VP Op-Fi. The Review Board also found that Preston did not act in an official capacity during his campaign.

On March 31, Pearce sought to appeal the decision of the Review Board in an 18-page filing to the Students’ Union Tribunal. His request was granted on April 3, and the Tribunal will hear the case on Thu., Apr. 17.

In his filing, Pearce cited as grounds for appeal the claim that “The Review Board failed to find that Mr. Preston acted in official capacity in contravention of [Governance Bylaws] when he made his request of Mr. Tse. The Appellant re-submits the documentary evidence that establishes this fact. The Appellant also requests that the Tribunal re-examine the testimony of Mr. Tse, and draw the necessary adverse inference from his refusal to answer the Appellant’s questions regarding this event.”

In his filing, Pearce also disagrees with the Review Board’s interpretation of the SU bylaws.

Pearce, and his Student’s Legal Assistance lawyer want the Tribunal to overturn “the Review Board’s finding that Mr. Preston did not act in any official capacity during the election” in contravention of the Governance Bylaw. They also ask that the tribunal “find that the office of vice-president operations and finance to be vacant, and as a consequence, that an order be issued to the Students’ Union to hold a by-election as required for that office.”

The Tribunal can effectively sustain the Review Board’s decision, revise it in either party’s favour, or impose its own remedies.

The incoming VP Op-Fi, if any, will be responsible for establishing the SU budget by June.

Pearce is currently an Events Commissioner, while Preston was an Academic Commissioner prior to the Review Board decision.

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