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MRC Students' Association president Jon Macpherson.
courtesy the MRC Reflector

Vicious emails bring Mount Royal student president under fire

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A nasty election email sent from the Mount Royal College student president to the University of Calgary Students' Union president has landed one of the presidents in hot water.

Current Mount Royal Students' Association president Jon Mac-pherson, who was re-elected to a second term Sat., March 7, was punished by the MRC students' council for sending an email to U of C SU president Emily Wyatt defaming his competitor, current vice-president student life Tami Rothery.

Macpherson ended up winning the election over Rothery--his only other competitor--by 428 votes. As part of his punishment, he is required to write letters of apology to both Wyatt and U of C VP external Julie Labonte.

Wyatt said she was surprised to receive an email from Macpherson asking her to support his election campaign. She responded to the email by telling Macpherson she had to remain neutral and forwarded the email to Labonte. Somehow the email got into the hands of an MRC VP who brought it to the attention of council. Then the Calgary Herald also reported on the story.

"I don't go to Mount Royal, so I don't feel it's my place to take sides," commented Wyatt. "It was an email sent just to me. The email wasn't nice to his competitor, but I was surprised to see it on the front page of the Herald [city section]."

Wyatt noted the U of C SU's bylaws prohibit candidates from using SU resources such as email addresses or photocopiers for campaign purposes.

"The main problem was [the email] was sent from his president email, rather than his personal account," noted Wyatt.

U of C SU chief returning officer Mike Brown said the SU doesn't have specific defamation election bylaws, but noted the content of posters is limited.

"Candidates can't make reference to any other candidates on their promotional material," he said.

In addition to the apology to Labonte and Wyatt, Macpherson will also lose his spot on the MRC board of governors as well as any remaining vacation time. He cannot hold leadership positions on any external lobby groups and is required to pay a $1,000 fine to the students' association.

Macpherson did not return phone calls before deadline.

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