Black winning candidate disqualified at Carleton, friend claims

Jarratt Best sent this message using the contact form at http://www.sharenews.com/contact.

Dear Sharenews.com:

My name is Jarratt Best and I am writing to you from Ottawa, Canada. With my best friend, Bruce Kyereh-Addo, I operate a non-profit organization called Black Affinity which works to give low-income youth and youth of African origin an equal chance at progressive opportunities.

We assist them in skill-building and ensure youth are aware of their surroundings and efficient methods of interaction. Our information can be seen in more detail on our website (www.carleton.ca/blackaffinity). Our movement is supported by Carleton University.

Bruce Kyereh-Addo, Co-President of Black Affinity, participated in an election for president of the Carleton University Students Association, a student union that is supposed to represent the Carleton students. Bruce won the presidency with 1,744 votes; almost 200 votes more than his major opponent who was supported by the current executive of CUSA.

Hours after ballot-counting had commenced, Bruce was contacted via e-mail and informed that he had been disqualified. The person who contacted him, Chair of the Electoral Board, has a close relationship with the current executive. The other two members of this board are closely affiliated with CUSA, one as a managing employee and the other as a former CUSA Council member.

These choices clearly prove a lack of transparency and a poor effort to choose elections officials that are unbiased. When Bruce appealed his disqualification to the Electoral Board that consisted of these CUSA affiliates, he was denied, with the board stating that if there is an infraction, someone must be charged with it.

Growing up a Black man, Bruce understands being pointed at in a negative manner and being blamed just because of what he is, not who he is. What is he? A Black man. Who is he? A strong individual who fought through many struggles to become a university student and community worker helping to give youth new hope and motivation toward successful futures.

Bruce is well-known among various groups at Carleton as a kind individual who wants to see unity between Black brothers and sisters and all others. Sadly, this allows him to be robbed of an opportunity to bring real representation and progress to Carleton students.

More embarrassing for CUSA is the fact that they are denying the student voice and the power of their vote.

After being denied at the appeal with the Electoral Board, Bruce Kyereh-Addo took his case to the final internal step, CUSA’s Constitutional Board, again comprised of internal CUSA affiliates. The former chair of the Constitutional Board, current CUSA president, stepped aside, declaring a conflict of interest as she commented that Bruce’s opponent was the rightful winner even though appeals were still in process. Her alternative, another CUSA executive employee, sent Bruce messages stating that he is not the right guy for the job and unqualified for the position.

More amazing than the fact that someone so biased is chair of any electoral board is the fact that before he rose to power, he would constantly look to Bruce as a mentor for advice and resources. And now he feels that Mr. Kyereh-Addo is unqualified.

Another member of the Constitutional Board was heard ranting about Bruce not supporting his campaign and allegedly threatened that if he did not receive support, he will vote against Bruce. Is this how any student union should operate?

The next step is in the hands of the Canadian justice system and now, as a people, we must stand behind our brother who has consistently fought for the progress of not only our Black communities, but all struggling communities and youth who have lost hope.

We must stand by him in the name of Black progress and the widening of our spectrum of unity.

Bruce can be contacted at blackaffinity@rogers.com

Sincerely,

Jarratt Best

Ottawa

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