Archive for February, 2012

appeals filed; “smear campaign” alleged

February 23rd, 2012 39 comments

The Gazette is reporting that Arron and Beale have filed appeals.

The headline and the first few paragraphs are dedicated to Arron’s allegation that a “smear campaign” was launched against him, referring readers to as evidence.  (To be clear to new visitors, I believe he’s not alleging that the site itself is orchestrating a campaign, or the pundits, but rather that evidence of such a campaign may be seen on this site given its role as a nexus of election information.  No hate mail, please.)

It’s not clear from the article which of the offences was caused or perpetrated by the smear campaign, or if that is just a parenthetical remark.  (Arron took to Twitter to clarify that this was a secondary comment; we’ve reached out to him to offer to publish in full his case).

They largely ignored my comments on working-around-the-rules appeals, which is fair as I was not optimistic about most of them.  Beale in particular blames an unregistered volunteer who was not aware of the rules; Arron variously notes there is no specific prohibition against campaigning in residence, that his posts weren’t campaigning, that the video is owned by an independent director not the DSU, and that his website could not have had any impact on the election.  The Gazette article has details.

Update 02/26: Jamie Arron has put up a website detailing his appeals.


The times may be tough, but always remember to eat your cabbage…

February 20th, 2012 1 comment

These are obviously tense times for the union. We’ve just come off the most stunning election results night in recent memory, the future of the executive is up in the air for the indefinite future, and though it is still only February, a looming faculty strike casts a grim shadow over the remainder of the school year—all this, and we have not yet even considered what the  strikes affecting public transportation and cheap beer (edit: nevermind, Oland Brewery strike averted yesterday!) will do to an already weakened campus moral.

I have been tinkering with a post about all of that business, but this is not that post. This is a exclusive so utterly unforeseen and unspeakably exciting that I simply had to put everything else in my life on hold so that I could address the information within immediately. Some who read this might already be in possession of this knowledge—and if so, they must be punished by the gods of DSU gossip for not alerting me to it earlier—but I suspect that for others, this will be something to cling to in otherwise acrimonious times. Read more…


DSU Elections committee statement on disqualifications

February 18th, 2012 21 comments

The official statement is now up regarding the disqualifications of Jamie Arron and Aaron Beale, click here to read

In summary:

Jamie Arron diaqualified for amassing $120 in fines. These included various post-campaign Facebook posts, using video footage owned by the DSU in a campaign video and not removing this video from his website, putting the website up early (by one hour), and solicitation in residence.

Aaron Beale disqualified for amassing $205 in fines (if my math is correct). Twenty-nine handbills were found in Howe Hall after the campaign period (at $5/handbill this adds up quickly, with the additional $20 post-campaigning fine), for not removing chalk by the deadline, and for knocking on residence doors in Shirreff Hall.


candidate disqualification: how does it work and what happens next?

February 17th, 2012 9 comments

With two candidates disqualified – and the results of both races changed as a result – now would be a good time to review the process of disqualification.  Some of these points came up in notes at the end of the results post; this is a more detailed treatment.  It’s tough to comment specifically on Arron and Beale because the exact nature of their disqualification has not yet been announced (this is entirely reasonable; in addition to such delays being permitted, on a day when the EC is busy trying to actually run the polls, it’s entirely reasonable for them to ask for a little time to assemble the details of their decision.)  Where possible I have marked such comments in italics.

The short version is this: disqualifications could not be announced or even discussed publicly until polls closed by rule. Disqualifications can be appealed to the Elections Committee within the next 3-4 days, as up to this point they could not include much of the candidate’s side of the story in their deliberations because of the ban on discussing the charges outside the Committee.  If the candidate is not satisfied with their decision on appeal, they can take it to the Judicial Board within 5 days of receiving the appeal decision.  The JB is essentially the final word on the matter.  The CRO will likely be invited to submit to the JB.  They will hold a hearing of some form (within 2 weeks), and within one month of the hearing will produce a written decision (possibly with dissenting opinions).  Maximum time is almost 8 weeks, though in practice it will likely be less.

For the longer version, read on!

Read more…


2012 results live

February 16th, 2012 64 comments

Edit: Official results with numbers are up at

Results will be posted here as they come in; official announcement is 9pm tonight in the Grawood.  See also @punditry on Twitter for faster updates.  Stay tuned.

8:59: The CRO has been reported in the Grawood.

9:27: We’re not behind, there’s just not much happening at the moment.

9:44: It’s happening… video, Eye of Tiger music, etc.

9:46: ANSSA Referendum: Yes, 53%

9:47: DWC, 58% yes.. DASSS 55.3% yes.

9:47: NSPIRG, No 52.7%

9:48: Yes to Curtis, 90.1%

Senate, Navid, Jon, Martin

VPSL: Gavin Jardine on second ballot (54.something%)

VPI: Wolf on second ballot [very close]

VPAE: Aaron Beale disqualified, Richard Clark named winner. (Beale won vote with 61%)

President: Jamie Arron disqualified, Sarah Bouchard named winner.  (Arron won vote with 58%)

(Note: disqualifications and fines that would lead to a candidate being disqualified are not announced before polls close.  This is so that the results of the race are not affected in case of a later appeal.)

(Note 2: Replaced by Note 6.)

(Note 3: Word at the announcement was full reasoning for the disqualifications would follow, will take time to write up the official decisions).

(Note 4: disqualifications are appealable any time within the next 78 (72+6) hours or so to the Elections Committee, and after that to the DSU Judicial Board [arms-length law students].)  [corrected from 48+6/54 hours]

(Note 5: will post numbers when they become available; results came out fast and there was utter mayhem on Twitter when the DQs were announced.  Checked Gazette Live Blog to steal copy with acknowledgment theirs; they missed them, too.  @SarahEstrin got most of the numbers you see above.)

(Note 6: Brief history from memory: the last time a winning executive candidate was disqualified was 2005, when the president-elect was disqualified (the day after results were announced, new evidence). Overturned by Judicial Board. In 2004, CRO disqualified no one; runner-up appealed to the Judicial Board, JB disqualified president-elect. No appeals permitted.)

(Note 7: Presidential candidates were disqualified in 2006 and 2007 with no impact on the result of the election.)


on the DFA strike: lessons learned

February 16th, 2012 2 comments

Based on lessons from 2002 (see my earlier post), I do have a set of suggestions for students and their elected representatives. I also have a set of suggestions for what the DSU should not do. It’s not my place to advocate for any of these; rather, these are the things I wish I had known in February 2002.  I should note that I was very active during the strike, engaging in many conversations with the DFA and the students supporting them (my sent mail shows 800 emails that month).  I was engaged in the DSU discussions.  And today, I write as someone whose career path will lead him to be a member of a faculty union somewhere.  I see and recognize many perspectives; this is my conclusion based on all of them.

What should individuals do?

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. The posturing that’s happening now is very concerning. I do believe they are making more progress than they were in 2002, but they have yet to even start formally discussing what I see as the biggest issue.  I also suspect at least some of this is intended to bring pressure on the government to a) increase funding and b) relax pension solvency rules, which would require angry students and parents.  A strike may be averted, and if it comes it may be brief, but you never know. This whole post is written as a plan for the worst.

The university will do what it can to preserve the semester, and will go to some pretty extreme measures to do so. In 2002, the university pledged to compensate students for changed travel plan costs, help find alternate accommodations, and to do what they could to request leniency from employers [read the full memo here]. They also were good about giving tuition credits to students who withdrew during the strike. There is no guarantee that will happen again, so try these things at your own risk and remain as flexible as you can.

The extreme case involves a ruined summer with no refunds, like the oft-cited York University case (speaking as an employee of York University, these people are out of their minds). I wouldn’t be too worried about that happening at Dalhousie. Do consider your plans in the event of a lost semester, but don’t jump to react to it – warning employers, family, and friends not to expect you to graduate on time would be premature.

More after the break…

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on the DFA strike: the year was 2002

February 15th, 2012 4 comments

As Halifax continues to slowly grind to a strike-ridden halt, and the Dalhousie Faculty Association conducts a strike vote, my thoughts have turned to the last Dalhousie strike.

The potential DFA strike hasn’t really been a campaign issue, because odds are it will have played out completely by the time the current candidates take office. It is my sincere hope that the bargaining process can resolve these issues before a strike. In the event it cannot, I thought it might be interesting to hear the story of the last strike from a student who lived through it. The story will at times be dull, but it includes the story of Occupy Dalhousie, DSU in-fighting, and battles with the administration.

This is Part I, the history. Part II will be my advice to students and to elected student leaders in the event of a strike.

In 2002, the DFA went on strike for 26 days; they walked out effective March 4 at 8am; classes resumed on April 1st [fear not, many jokes were made]. It was the fourth Dalhousie faculty strike and the second in four years (in 1998 they walked for 8 days). The cast was the same for both of those strikes, so there was a lot of ill will (the cast has changed somewhat but many admin members and faculty were present for the previous strikes). As is usual, the Administration locked out the professors the day they went on strike.

Read more…