VP Finance candidate Lawrence Liu penalized for failing to disclose ‘privileged access’ to club room

VP finance by-election candidate Lawrence Liu’s campaign is suspended for 12 hours for failing to disclose door access to the Hong Kong Student Association (HKSA) club room.

In an email sent to The Ubyssey, AMS Elections Administrator Ashley Haines said the Elections Committee decided to suspend Liu’s campaign privileges from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28 after receiving a formal complaint against the candidate alleging he was seen in the HKSA club room in the Nest multiple times on September 27. Liu also can not accept an endorsement from the HKSA, Haines wrote.

According to Haines, candidates must disclose “privileged access to any university resources or buildings” before the start of the campaign period.

“This was absolutely a genuine, honest mistake on my part,” Liu wrote in a message to The Ubyssey, adding that he has always used the HKSA room as a lunchtime space. In her email, Haines noted that Liu used to be an exec of the club.

Liu apologized for not disclosing his access to the room, but said he did not think it gave him an advantage in the election.

“I believe the penalty given is more severe than it should be and provides an unfair advantage to other candidates. Due to the tight time frame of this election, I do not plan on contesting the decision.”

Haines said the Elections Committee gave Liu 12 hours to provide an explanation — which he did — and that the committee confirmed the candidate’s past membership with the HKSA through internal AMS databases.

When asked for the identity of the complainant and if they were associated with another campaign, Haines said the Elections Committee wished to keep them anonymous “to ensure full accessibility to anyone who wishes to file a complaint.”

Liu is currently running against AMS Strategy and Governance Lead Kamil Kanji and the Arts Student Centre (represented by Mathew Ho) to permanently fill the AMS VP finance seat after the former VP finance resigned over the summer. 

Voting ends tomorrow at 5 p.m. and results will be announced around 6. 

For more coverage on the VP finance by-election, visit ubyssey.ca/news.

— With files from Anabella McElroy