The eagerly awaited results of the McGill Judicial board hearing of Newburgh and Steven v. Tacoma were released, ruling in favour of Zack Newburgh and Brendan Steven.
The case challenged a fall referendum held by the McGill Student Union (SSMU) that would have made it more difficult for students to opt out of student fees given to QPIRG, a controversial and radical group on campus.
The case was followed by many students, and drew both those who supported and opposed QPIRG to the hearing.
Specifically, last week's ruling invalidated the referendum, but allowed the respondent Rebecca Tacoma to maintain her position as the chief electoral office at McGill, stating her decisions were valid as far as her position was concerned.
The referendum was invalidated on the basis of its question, which forced voters to decide between two separate issues: whether or not QPIRG should continue to receive funding and whether or not the funding could be opted out of on line. This meant students had to vote “yes” or “no” on two different questions at the same time, leaving the possibility that some students may have wanted to vote both simultaneously on the question.
This violated sections 25.2 and 25.3 of the SSMU Constitution.
In a press release Newburgh and Steven expressed how pleased they were with the results of the board’s decision.
“The verdict reaffirmed the important constitutional requirement that all referenda must deal with only one issue. Such a requirement ensures that members of the Students’ Society of McGill University can vote decisively on matters important to them and to our community,” they stated.
The decision now must be affirmed by the SSMU board of directors to be final. The board is expected to vote to uphold the verdict.
Full disclosure: Brendan Steven is a member of the Herald Executive Board, but did not write this article.