By Alexandra Holyk
Ryerson First—one of four proposals that were accepted to run as a new student government at Ryerson—has been suspended from campaigning online and on-campus for two days after students allegedly complained about the team’s methods of sharing their platform.
Proposed by Anoop Dhillon, Tanvir Billah, James Polvorosa, Marta Wisniewski, Mihai Lungu and Harman Sondhi, Ryerson First’s campaign has been restricted because they received a penalty for violating campaign rules, according to the RU Next Gov site and process officer Lianne Newman.
Newman sent a notice of penalty via email to The Eyeopener on Friday that cited there was an investigation by the lead process officer (LPO) which confirmed that Ryerson First used social media to post disrespectful comments about other campaigns. The penalty notice is also posted online via the RU Next Gov site.
The notice states that the Student Government Selection Committee determined that Ryerson First’s campaign “demonstrated bad conduct” and has therefore been put on probation for the remainder of the campaign process.
“Any future harassment or negative campaigning, or any further misconduct on the part of Ryerson First will result in immediate disqualification,” the notice reads.
Ryerson First will be able to campaign again starting March 1.
Prior to receiving the notice, Dhillon said in an email to The Eyeopener that the lead process officer (LPO) has not explained why the team is suspended. “Due to the lack of information provided, we are appealing this decision,” Dhillon said.
Dhillon was accused by students online of misusing Facebook group chats to promote his team’s proposal after changing the name of the “Accepted Ryerson 2020-2024 Official” group to “Ryerson University Social Group.” He was also accused of deleting group members’ posts, including proposal campaigning by other student teams.
Following this, one of Ryerson First’s team members Milad Moghaddas removed himself from the campaign process due to “family reasons,” according to Dhillon.
In an email to The Eye on Feb. 26, Dhillon said that he created the Accepted Ryerson group on Facebook in 2018 to “create an independent platform for students where they didn’t need to worry that everything they post is monitored by the university.” He added that he’s probably spent “over 2000 hours” maintaining the page.
“Due to the extreme lack of funds provided by Ryerson for this campaign, and the extremely short campaign period, I was forced to get creative with our outreach and used the resource I have built over the years to promote a cause I was passionate about,” Dhillon said via email.
Dhillon also said that he was notified by the LPO that this might give him an unfair advantage in the campaign process, however, he said that because he created the group, “it isn’t explicitly against the rules of the campaign.”
Since the name change, Dhillon has received backlash and decided to step down as the administrator of the Facebook page.
“The needs of Ryerson students come first…and I want a fair, transparent process,” Dhillon said.
The three other proposal teams: Ryerson Undergraduate Students’ Alliance, Ryerson Graduate Students’ Union and the Ryerson University Student Collective are still expected to campaign regularly throughout the week ahead of voting on March 4 and 5.
Dhillon has not responded to comment since The Eye received the team’s penalty notice. This story will be updated accordingly.