Poster similarities, prohibited logo use and coerced votes amongst allegations against candidates
Alisha Samnani // Editor-in-Chief
Update on April 6 at 4:02pm: Four candidates have filed appeals against decisions rendered by the CSU Elections Administrator during the 2022 CSU Elections.
VP External candidate Lohit Goyal filed an appeal against his disqualification — seen in Decision 2 Re: Slating and Logo Violation — on the basis that the administrator “…declined to disqualify Karandeep Singh, candidate for President, from the election [Decision 3],” and that “many candidates have been given a warning/ chance to correct their doings and obey the rules even after directly violating the election rules.”
Goyal’s appeal was denied since his disqualification was “based on slating, which is a much more serious offence than a logo violation that was considered in complaint #3.”
CSU presidential candidate Maia Lomelino also appealed Decision 2 on the grounds that although Goyal and Singh were using the same Canva template, “both candidates kept the same slogan, colours and font scheme,” and maintained a “visual identity [that] links them together.”
Although noted by the administrator, because the template was “an obvious template one would use for such a campaign and the slogan colours and font scheme are its default,” the claim is too speculative to disqualify both candidates.
Lomelino also argued that the incident in our update on March 19 at 7:23pm benefitted Singh “as we don’t know how many times it might have happened and how that could impact the results as a whole.”
The administrator’s decision explains that “the fact that the candidate cast a ballot for Karandeep and other candidates doesn’t implicate Karandeep, it implicates the candidate that cast the ballot in an illicit manner and is speculative with regard to whether this was done enough times to affect the outcome of the election for CSU President.”
Due to the overly speculative nature of the evidence, Lomelino’s appeal was denied.
CBPS VP candidate Jashan Brar filed an appeal against his disqualification on the ground that he was not in the cafeteria at the time of the alleged incident described in our update on March 19 at 7:23pm, and was instead “at the CSU desk at that time.”
The administrator wrote that “the matter was verified with campus security that you were indeed in the cafeteria at the time of the event in question. The claim that the allegations are untrue given the time of the alleged event and where you were at the time remain inconsistent with the evidence before me.”
Brar’s appeal was denied.
CSU VP Equity & Sustainability candidate Loveleen also filed an appeal against her disqualification. In her appeal, she questions the reliability and timeliness of the allegations, and argues that the complaint is nothing more than “dirty political tactics” by “opponents who must’ve thought I was succeeding using a good campaign strategy [and] are trying to mislead [the elections administrator] by altering facts.”
The report reiterates that the complainant “was credible and had their allegations corroborated with via campus security,” and that “the election administrator may, on their own initiative, initiate an investigation into suspected irregularities” as set out in the CSU Election Procedure.
Loveleen also claimed that various elements of the investigation process were “suspicious” and “violating her right(s),” as well as alleging that “the investigation process is tainted based on the fact that the process is not the same as what occurs when an official complaint is received.”
The report states that these claims are “unfounded”, and that “the investigation process was in line with CSU procedures.”
Loveleen also attached an alleged copy of the poster referenced in the original decision which “includes a QR code for voters to scan, which at the time of the appeal no longer worked.” While the complainant alleged that the QR code took them to the CSU voting page, Loveleen claims that the code went to the candidate statement page.
The report explains that “the question of where the QR code links to is not the question at hand in this case,” and that “the claim that the allegations are untrue remain inconsistent with the evidence […] provided by several allegations and evidence as included in the Original Decision, including some provided […] on March 25th and further validated by campus security.”
Loveleen’s appeal was denied.
Update on April 2 at 3:30pm: The CSU Elections Administrator has declared an election emergency “for the purposes of suspending the 10 business day requirement with regard to transmitting the official results of the election to the board of directors.”
The declaration explains that the volume of complaints and evidence that continues to be submitted requires “a few more days to properly investigate […] and provide written decisions and appeals on these matters to best uphold the values of Independent Administration, Integrity, and Fairness.”
No timeframe was provided on when a presentation to the board of directors can be expected.
Update on March 31 at 7:52am: CSU VP Equity & Sustainability candidate Loveleen has been disqualified from the 2022 CSU Elections.
According to a sixth decision report issued by the CSU Election Administrator, a member alleged that “Loveleen had the member scan a QR code on her flyer and put such pressure on the member that the member felt obliged to vote for Loveleen as Loveleen watched the member cast their vote on their phone.”
This is a violation of Section 3, Subsection 5.1.d of CSU procedure BD-06.1 Elections, which prohibits “applying pressure, encouragement, or a requirement for a voter to cast an electronic vote in the presence of a candidate.”
The report goes on to say that the complainant was found to be credible and consistent, and that campus security “were able to verify that someone fitting Loveleen’s description was hovering over the person that made the allegations at the exact time the voting receipt timestamp occurred.”
The administrator also noted that this was “not Loveleen’s first violation during this election as Loveleen was issued a warning regarding a poster violation earlier in the campaign.”
Loveleen has 48 hours from the time they received the above decisions from the CSU Elections Administrator to submit an appeal as set forth in CSU Procedure BD-06.1.
Update on March 29 at 5:43pm: VP External candidate Lohit Goyal and CBPS VP candidate Jashan Brar have both been disqualified from the 2022 CSU elections.
According to a decision report issued by the CSU Election Administrator, an Instagram post that campaigns for both Goyal and Brar, which was reposted to Goyal’s Instagram story, “in and of itself is a clear example of slating.” The report goes on to state that this gave the administrator “no choice but to disqualify candidate Lohit Goyal.”
According to Decision CSU 2022 #5, the administrator spoke to two members about the incidence described in our update on March 18 at 6:46pm. The administrator stated that the two members were found to be credible and consistent, and verified the general incidents described with campus security.
The report goes on to state that “the ability to cast ones vote individually and without duress is critical, never mind the alleged outright theft of an individual’s vote,” and that “the campaigning at hand was clearly a violation of these fundamental elements of an election.”
Given that “serious violations that erode the trust of the CSU membership took place,” the administrator disqualified Brar from the election.
All other complaints submitted were dismissed, either due to lack of evidence or due to a non-material impact on the election results.
Both Goyal and Brar have 48 hours from the time they received the above decisions from the CSU Elections Administrator to submit an appeal as set forth in CSU Procedure BD-06.1.
Update on March 23 at 2:01pm: A student reached out to the Courier about their “frustrating” experience during the campaigns: “I had an experience in which I was being approached by [what felt like] an army just walking between buildings on campus,” said the student. “[I was also] approached less than 10 minutes apart in the library, and while sitting on a bench in the hall — even sometimes by the same people. It was hard to tell who [in the group] was running.”
The student said that the group consisted of “at least five different people all holding the same paper [with a QR code],” and that it felt like “they didn’t seem to care about interrupting or stopping people [who were busy].”
Update on March 22 at 12:20pm: International Students Liaison candidate Riya Luthra has now privated her Instagram account.
Update on March 20 at 11:39am: The Courier has obtained a flyer distributed around campus by CSU VP Student Affairs candidate Manpreet. The poster features the CapU logo, which goes against Section 3, Subsection 5.1.e of CSU procedure BD-06.1 Elections, as it could suggest “an organization’s endorsement of the candidate’s campaign.”
The Courier has also received reports that Manpreet was in the Cedar courtyard during the voting period soliciting votes with a similar QR code to candidates Brar and Loveleen.
A student has also reached out to the Courier stating that they were approached by two women in the courtyard during the voting period with similar QR codes asking students to vote for CBPS VP candidate Jashan Brar. The student could not see Brar during this interaction, and did not cast their vote at the time.
Update on March 20 at 10:30am: The Courier received a message from an anonymous student who claims that they were “followed [around] for more than 15 minutes” by CSU VP Equity & Sustainability candidate Loveleen on March 16 in the Arbutus building. Although the student didn’t cast their ballot that day, they said they “avoided going to [campus the next day] to avoid such further interactions.”
At 11:28pm, the same student alleged that Loveleen had also asked them to vote for current CSU president Maia Lomelino at the time.
* Editor’s note: this student would not reveal their full identity to the Courier, other than mentioning that they were studying Science at CapU.
Update on March 19 at 9:48pm: The Courier received a message from another student who was made to cast an electronic ballot by CSU VP Equity & Sustainability candidate Loveleen in the Birch building on March 15. Loveleen presented the paper with the QR code to the student, and watched them cast their vote in front of her.
That student was joined by their friend when they were approached later that same day by a different candidate, whose name they couldn’t recall. When the candidate presented the friend with the QR code, the friend told the candidate their phone battery was dead, in an effort to avoid casting their vote. This lead to the candidate offering the student their own phone to use. The friend “paused on the sign in page and said [they] forgot [their] password ([they] didn’t)” before the candidate gave up and left.
“Passing around devices upon which a voter is pressured, encouraged, or required to vote” is prohibited under Section 3, Subsection 5.1.d of CSU procedure BD-06.1 Elections.
The first student, who was present for both of the above interactions, was approached by a third candidate in the same manner on March 16 in the Library building. The student notes that they “felt unsafe [and] wildly uncomfortable” during these interactions.
Update on March 19 at 7:23pm: The Courier has obtained the voting receipt of a student who had their electronic ballot casted on March 15 by CBPS VP candidate Jashan Brar.
Although the student was unable to vote for Brar, as they are not part of the CBPS, Brar submitted votes for five candidates on behalf of the student: CSU Presidential candidate Karandeep Singh, CSU VP External candidate Lohit Goyal, CSU VP Equity & Sustainability candidate Loveleen, CSU VP Finance & Services candidate Manpreet Kaur, and VP Student Affairs candidate Simranjit Kaur. All other positions were marked as abstained.
Update on March 19 at 6:22pm: The Courier received a message from a student who saw CSU VP Equity & Sustainability candidate Loveleen in the Birch building on March 15 asking students to “vote for [her] and [her] friend.” Loveleen was also holding a green piece of paper with a QR code on it — similar to the paper used by CBPS VP candidate Jashan Brar.
Update on March 19 at 4:30pm: The Courier has learnt that the QR code used by CBPS VP candidate Jashan Brar in order to solicit student votes was printed onto a green flyer-sized piece of paper. The paper had a reminder to vote on the top of the page, with a large QR code located in the centre. When scanned, the QR code led straight to the CSU’s Simply Voting page.
Requiring a voter to cast their vote in front of a candidate is prohibited by Section 3, Subsection 5.1.d of CSU procedure BD-06.1 Elections.
Update on March 19 at 8:41am: VP External candidate Lohit Goyal and VP Equity & Sustainability candidate Loveleen have unfollowed each other on Instagram.
Update on March 18 at 7:42pm: A now deleted Instagram story from Business and Professional Studies candidate Aayush Verma was shared just after unofficial election results were posted last night with the words “thanks to all, especially [CBPS VP Candidate Jashan Brar]. This appears to support the claim in the previous update.
Update on March 18 at 6:46pm: The Courier received an Instagram message from two first-year science students who were approached by CBPS VP candidate Jashan Brar on Wed, March 16 in the cafeteria. Brar asked the students to scan a QR code which took them to the CSU voting page, and asked the students to vote for him. When they told him they couldn’t, he grabbed their phones away, and gave them back once he “voted for his friends running [for] different positions” on behalf of the students.
This is a direct violation of Section 3, Subsection 5.1.d of CSU procedure BD-06.1 Elections, which states that “Applying pressure, encouragement, or a requirement for a voter to cast an electronic vote in the presence of a candidate, or passing around devices upon which a voter is pressured, encouraged, or required to vote” is prohibited behaviour.
Update on March 18 at 6:26pm: VP External candidate Lohit Goyal has appeared to unfollow Presidential candidate Karandeep Singh on Instagram.
Update on March 18 at 5:36pm: CSU Presidential candidate Karandeep Singh has appeared to have taken down the CSU logo he was using as his Instagram profile photo. CBPS VP candidate Jashan Brar has also appeared to have removed “VP @CapilanoU” from his Instagram profile description.
Update on March 18 at 3:42pm: The Capilano Courier received a report from a student, who would prefer to stay anonymous, that CBPS VP candidate Jashan Brar took their phone and cast their vote for them.
This goes against Section 3, Subsection 5.1.d of CSU procedure BD-06.1 Elections, which states that “Applying pressure, encouragement, or a requirement for a voter to cast an electronic vote in the presence of a candidate, or passing around devices upon which a voter is pressured, encouraged, or required to vote” is prohibited behaviour.
This is an ongoing story, and will be updated as more information arises.
Presidential candidate Karandeep Singh, Vice President External candidate Lohit Goyal, and Vice President Equity & Sustainability candidate Loveleen have been accused of alleged “slate-like-behaviour” during the 2022 Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) election campaign.
Slating is a practice where two or more candidates run together on a similar platform for mutual advantage. Section 14 of CSU Bylaw VII, as well as CSU election procedures specifically prohibits “slates of candidates and slate-like behaviour by candidates, real or apparent.”
The Capilano Courier has learned from multiple students, who would rather stay anonymous, that Loveleen and Singh were approaching students together in various buildings throughout the campaign period, as well as in the CSU Maple Lounge once polls opened. Loveleen was heard asking students “if me and my friends win, what do you want to see from the CSU?”
The pair were also spotted campaigning together in the Library building, where they were handing out flyers together to students.
In addition, Singh and Goyal both appear to have used Canva in the creation of their campaign posters – the same templates, fonts, and slogans are used on both posters. Both posters also direct viewers to each candidate’s Instagram page for more information.
Goyal follows Singh and Loveleen on Instagram. Loveleen follows both Goyal and Singh.
The Courier also noticed that Goyal, along with Capilano Business and Professional Society vice presidential candidate Jashan Brar, have been using the same obscure ‘hole in one’ golf emoji throughout their captions and messaging relating to their respective campaigns.
Although no other link has yet been discovered, the ISU, otherwise known as the International Student Union on Instagram, uses the same emoji frequently in their captions, specifically when promoting election candidates. The group has been previously been accused of meddling in various student union elections, including those held at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Douglas College.
Goyal, Brar, and Loveleen all follow each other on Instagram.
Brar’s posters were spotted on tables in the Library as well as in the Bosa building — something generally prohibited by CSU election procedures. Section 3, Subsection 4.2.a of CSU procedure BD-06.1 Elections states that there is “a limit of one poster per bulletin board, and [posters are] subject to any Capilano Students’ Union or university postering rules.”
It is also noted that the QR code used on Brar’s poster is the same colour and style as the QR code used on Singh’s Instagram poster. Singh and Brar also follow each other on Instagram.
Singh is also accused of using the CSU logo on his Instagram account @karan_capu, which was specifically created for his campaign, while candidate Riya Luthera, who was running for International Students Liaison, used the Capilano University (CapU) logo on a poster shared to her Instagram stories last week.
The use of CSU and CapU logos, along with the logos of “a national or provincial student organization, or of any of their services, divisions, departments, or student groups” is prohibited according to Section 3, Subsection 5.1.e of CSU procedure BD-06.1 Elections, as it could suggest “an organization’s endorsement of the candidate’s campaign.”
The candidates could not be reached for comment.
Do you have any more information about these allegations? Message us on our socials, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students are also requested to submit a report to the Elections Administrator, with the option to remain anonymous.