Last Thursday, Tariq Khan withdrew his case against the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) and Elections SSMU regarding the invalidation of his electoral win as SSMU President in April 2014. Khan won the election on March 21 by 78 votes. On April 1, Elections SSMU announced the invalidation of Khan’s win, which was due to the bylaw infractions that occurred in his campaign. Runner-up Courtney Ayukawa was then announced as the SSMU president.
Khan had first contested the invalidation via SSMU’s Judicial Board (J-Board), but when the decision was upheld, he then sought to have his claims heard by the Superior Court of Quebec. In May, Khan filed an injunction with the Superior Court, seeking for the court to grant a safeguard order that would reinstate him as the SSMU president until a full hearing could be held later in the year. The court ruled against the interim injunction, stating that “there [was] no proof of any procedural irregularities sufficient to support the suspension of [Khan’s disqualification].”
“The plaintiff, through its undersigned attorneys, withdraws his claim against the defendants, and they, through their attorneys undersigned, accept such discontinuance without costs,“ reads the court document signed by both Khan and SSMU’s lawyers.
Khan said his main reason for dropping the case against SSMU was due to the high expenses.
“Legal things are very expensive,” he said. “[The case] already cost me a lot so far, my finances got a bit tight. That is why I couldn’t afford to go further with the case, even though there were very strong developments with the case itself [….] The most logical decision was to drop the case.”
SSMU VP University Affairs Claire Stewart-Kanigan said the conclusion of the case would mean the Society would not need to reallocate more money into legal fees. She further elaborated that SSMU electoral bylaws would be revised by the end of the semester, and they would be reviewed to better hold up to legal scrutiny.
“We’ve been looking into the possibility of moving [election ballots] to preferential ballots, so that’s something [we’d] be consulting with students on, how they feel about it,” Stewart-Kanigan said.
The bylaws will be reviewed by an ad-hoc committee, composed of the six SSMU executives, four Councillors, and the SSMU General Manager, Pauline Gervais, which will then make recommendations to Council regarding any bylaw changes. Stewart-Kanigan also stated that the revisions will ultimately be reviewed by a lawyer.
Elections SSMU’s Chief Electoral Officer Ben Fung emphasized the need to have the bylaws reviewed by lawyers.
“Substantial bylaw changes are always reviewed by lawyers so that we confirm we aren’t breaking any laws and that they meet the conventions that are generally practiced by corporations,” he said.
—With additional reporting by Shrinkhala Dawadi