By Sadiq Javer
This year’s Students’ Union general election has been plagued by the removal and defacement of posters, and the distribution of illegal pamphlets.
According to the SU poster policy, candidates are given certain guidelines to follow regarding the hanging of posters. The SU poster policy states: "No organization or person shall remove or cover a valid poster."
Chief Returning Officer Patti Teeuwen said some candidates are removing legal posters and placing them over another to make room to legally place their poster. And so, the once legal poster is removed by the Poster Regulations Officer because it now violates the policy.
"It can get frustrating [for candidates]," said Teeuwen. "There is nothing they can do-this is part of the race."
Teeuwen said the only route candidates have is to present their case to the Review Board after the elections are over at which time the Board could declare the election invalid.
One candidate whose campaign has been marred by negative comments is presidential candidate David Quayat. Pamphlets passed out in the MacEwan Student Centre food court and posters put up around campus allude to Quayat’s resignation from his role as speaker of the Students Legislative Council and make claims of sexual harassment.
Former Reform Party on Campus member Hannah Murray witnessed the alleged actions while sharing the political clubs office with Quayat.
"He would put his arm around girls and slap their bums," said Murray.
"She has no idea what she is talking about," said Quayat. "She does not even know the context."
Quayat’s friend Tamara Starke commented on the alleged sexual harassment.
"I at no time was made to feel uncomfortable by Dave Quayat," said Starke. "He never took actions toward me that I perceived as sexual harassment. Dave and I have been really good friends and we continue to be. We hug and touch each other sometimes [non-sexual]. I am sorry that Hannah perceived this to be sexual harassment."
Murray was apologetic about her actions.
"I would like to apologize for any hurt I caused because the posters and fliers were not meant to hurt anyone, just to raise awareness," said Murray, who was visibly upset.
Murray said she talked to the SU regarding the distribution of the material before distributing it.
"She spoke with our policy analyst Hamish MacAulay and our Coordinator for Student Government Sandra Golightly," said SU Vice-President Academic Toireasa Jespersen.
"In order to campaign, you have to be registered as a campaigner. She was never told that it was okay. The potential ramifications were explained to her."
Murray disagreed with the SU’s position.
"I didn’t know it was against the university [rules]," said Murray. "No one told me I was breaking the rules."
"We discourage any kind of harassment and disrespectful behaviour," said Jespersen. "I can’t say that students shouldn’t get involved in the political process, but there has to be respect for others in your community."