BREAKING: BoG and Senate elections cancelled due to violations of election bylaws

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By Thea Gribilas, Edward Djan and Heidi Lee

This story is developing and will be updated with more information.

Ryerson Senate and Board of Governors (BoG) elections have been cancelled after various instances of misconduct during the election period between Feb. 23 and March 7.

In an email to The Eye, chief returning officer (CRO) Colleen Dempsey confirmed the cancellation of the election, adding that “all of the candidates from both cancelled elections have been invited to seek renomination. The reset election is meant to be a fresh start for all candidates.”

In an email sent to candidates by the CRO and obtained by The Eye, various concerns about the integrity of the election were cited, including concerns about candidates participating in interviews that not all candidates were involved with; inferring that candidates who are part of a slate are corrupt; implying that certain candidates are backed by the university; and using online groups to share platforms.

Ryerson’s Senate is responsible for academic-related policies at the university. This includes overseeing the content and quality of all programs and courses of study, the standards for admission to the university and the qualifications for obtaining degrees, diplomas and certificates, according to the Senate website.

The Senate includes 52 elected representatives of the university’s faculty, students and alumni, and seven non-voting senate associates. According to the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, a total of six student senators are elected from students of each faculty. Two at-large student senators will be elected by all undergraduate students.

The BoG‘s authority includes financial management, strategic planning and risk management. There are a total of 27 members on the BoG, including 11 elected members, three of which are students elected by the students.

The ‘Levitate’ slate, a group of students running for Senate and BoG positions, violated section 6.2.5 of the Senate election bylaws which states that “the use of non-personal telephone or email system groups, or mandatory (institutional) listeners to broadcast or send messages regarding individual candidates is prohibited.” 

In an email to candidates obtained by The Eye regarding candidates violating bylaws, Dempsey said “the candidates in question have been cautioned individually against further use, as it could result in disqualification.”

Ted Rogers School of Management Senate candidate Vitaliy Yushvaev and the Levitate slate were promoted in the ryersonu2025 Instagram page. The Levitate slate was also promoted on the Soccer World Ryerson Instagram page.

Ryerson Students’ Union president-elect Marina Gerges interviewed independent Senate candidates Aisha Rehman, Rachelle Shum and Srijan Sahu.

Dempsey warned that if candidates held future meetings with Gerges, they would have violated bylaw section 6.2.4. The bylaw states that “Any advertising of candidates by an official Ryerson University organization, such as CESAR, CUPE, RFA, RSU, Student Course Unions, etc. must mention all members of the candidates’ constituency.”

Senate and BoG candidates that the CRO finds committed election infractions can also be punished under the university’s student code of non-academic conduct, according to both Senate and BoG election bylaws. 

Other penalties candidates may face include making a public statement correcting a false claim or claims, writing a public retraction or apology, being barred from running in elections and overturning election results of the guilty offenders. Senate candidates may also need to include their apologies, retractions and corrections in campus newspapers.

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