Crack-down on election rules
By Karena Walter
The buzzer has sounded for one University Students' Council presidential candidate and he is being asked to hand over big money.
Saj Butt has violated a rule in Resolution 6, the council's election procedure code, which prohibits the use of USC facilities for making campaign materials. Butt's supporters had been photocopying campaign literature at InPrint.
He was given 15 demerit points and a $120 fine on Friday. Each demerit point is worth $8 and candidates who collect 51 demerit points or over $400 in fines are disqualified. Election fines are not reimbursed.
Butt is discouraged however, that no one at InPrint questioned his supporters' right to photocopy, even though the materials were clearly for campaign use and they were using the services for 20 to 25 minutes, he said.
"I never thought it would be a violation," Butt said. "I never thought I'd be penalized for putting money into my university." As it stands now, potential revenue is lost to businesses outside the university, he said.
"I think that policy needs to be looked at because we need to put money back into the university."
However, James Deans, the USC's chief returning officer, said the rule is in place to ensure fairness. If someone has a significant influence over InPrint and someone else does not, they may not receive the same attention. "It puts it on an even playing field," he said.
"Sometimes we err in the side of being too cautious but it's better than erring on the side of carelessness."