September 20, 2010

York University Ombuds Delivers Report on Student Elections

Earlier this year, the President of Canada's third-largest university, Mamdouh Shoukri asked the University Ombudsperson to conduct a review of student elections after allegations of misconduct. York Ombuds, John D. McCamus has now completedhis investigation and delivered a report.

The report by McCamus makes a number of recommendations regarding the election practices and processes with an emphasis on increasing transparency and perceived fairness. Coincidentally, a report report by a law firm retained by the student union reached many of the same conclusions.

The involvement of the Ombuds in the matter troubled many. In fact, McCamus reported that many felt the Ombuds should not have undertaken the review. This was no doubt due in part to the fact that the request from the University President did not acknowledge the unique role of the campus Ombuds, did not attempt to explain why the Ombuds was selected to conduct the review and did not attempt to harmonize the review with the Ombuds' continued duties. McCamus did not address these issues in his report. Although the work of the Ombuds is now concluded, his reputation for independence and impartiality may have been affected. (York University President's Office News, Ombuds Report, Daily Bulletin, Ombuds Office.)

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