Court calls for SA election repeat

Following a Tuesday public meeting held to discuss an appeal regarding the Student Association election, the Student Court ruled that all contested positions will be up for a second election.

Senior Rebecca Coons, who had previously run for the public relations position under the Vision party, submitted the appeal, which stated that the opposing party violated campaign rules set by the Undergraduate Student Association Elections Committee during the elections.

According to Chief Justice of the Student Court and senior Jessica Gilmore, the hearing held on Tuesday was "an informational meeting … to determine if the people voted into their positions will remain in their positions."

At the hearing, Coons first spoke of the alleged campaign rule violations on the part of the Imagine party, including their alleged failure to fully remove campaign materials from election locations, specifically the College Union, before the USAEC deadline.

According to a statement released by the court late Tuesday night, despite having found the Imagine party in violation of campaign policy, the court decided not to disqualify the party from the election. "This is because it has been brought to the attention of the court that it is currently unclear as to whether both parties committed offenses throughout the election," the statement read.

Other concerns Coons raised pertained to the confusion of campaign timelines, "unprofessional" behavior on the part of members of the USAEC during a March 27 meeting and consistently delayed responses of the USAEC chair in responding to her inquiries on campaign procedure.

During the March 27 meeting, both parties met with the USAEC after their alleged violations. According to Coons, the "acceptance and decision to move on [at that time] was coerced."

"Friday's meeting was not professional in any way," said sophomore Doug Sinski, who ran for president under the Vision party.

Junior Haleema Murtaza, Imagine party presidential candidate, countered, "As a former USAEC chair, I'd say that at the time the meeting began on Friday we should have all been disqualified. At the end after discussion … we were given the option of running on a clean slate - that was fair."

The court came to the decision that the "ambiguous and contradictory decisions issued by USAEC throughout the course of the election were unfair to all candidates involved," and ordered USAEC to issue clear, final decisions on how campaigning should be conducted prior to its start.

"I feel that the evidence I presented, when coupled with inconsistencies on the part of the USAEC timelines, had a significant enough impact [on the election's outcome]," said Coons.

Murtaza said that the USAEC's decision was correct because, "It didn't affect the results."

"Rules are rules," said Sinski. "Whether or not it exercised an undue influence on results is not relevant." He continued, "From a standpoint of what's best for the college community, I believe a new election should be held."

Indeed, another election will be held. According to Gilmore, further details, including the date for the second election, will be announced shortly.