NEWS

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May 12, 2006

Rules Committee rejects complaint about new slate

An anonymous complaint was filed this week against A New Day, the winning slate of the recent Student Government (SG) elections, alleging that the slate violated election rules by switching vice presidential candidates after the start of the official petition process.

Though the complaint was rejected, it demonstrates that resentment from the highly competitive campaign still lingers. The complaint argued that A New Day illegally switched its vice president of administration candidate from third-year in the College Alejandro Flores to third-year Donny Copeland.

“The concern is that some people may not have been willing to sign if they knew the switch was going to occur,” wrote Election and Rules Committee (ERC) chairman Marvin Lowenthal in an e-mail informing the slate of the complaint.

A New Day said the argument has no merit because they discussed the switch with Sharlene Holly, director of the Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities (ORCSA), and had their three eventual candidates certified by the rules committee.

“It just seems silly, especially since I had already been circulating my own petition with 50-plus signatures, and we were certified as a slate,” Copeland said.

The rules committee ultimately agreed, and it dismissed the complaint.

“It is not clear that there is anything which prevents a slate from changing its members after getting the petitions signed,” Lowenthal wrote.

Although rumors and accusations flew between SG members during the week, nobody has taken responsibility for the anonymous complaint.

Tensions have been high ever since A New Day upset Full Slate Ahead in the elections. Many current SG leaders developed close relationships with the Full Slate Ahead candidates over the past few years, and some have privately expressed frustration with the election of the reform-touting victors.

The complaint has forced the new slate to confront the problem of SG infighting from the very beginning.

“To be honest, putting aside what it has to say about us, it sort of cast SG in a bad light, and just seems really petty,” Copeland said. “It highlights the infighting among SG instead of the important things.”

The complaint marks the latest in an active season for the ERC. Before the election, A New Day filed a protest that the committee rejected, alleging that third-year Phil Caruso, Full Slate Ahead’s presidential candidate, campaigned before the official start of the race and attempted to intimidate A New Day presidential candidate Ian Muhlhauser, a graduate student in the Divinity School. After the campaign, Full Slate Ahead was found guilty of a violation with campaign posters and was then docked part of their deposit and total votes.

Caruso said he had nothing to do with the latest anonymous complaint, and that the practice of changing candidates was fairly routine.

“As far as switching VPs goes, I don’t know of any complaint filed,” Caruso said in an e-mail. “Switching up slate members seems to be pretty common practice during the election (The Big American Party switched up their VPA two or three times), so I doubt that [the ERC] would enforce anything, especially ex post facto.”

This latest anonymous objection should be the last of this year’s complaints to the Election and Rules Committee. SG bylaws state that grievances can only be filed within a week of election certification, a deadline that has now passed.