Student Government has certainly stirred up controversy with its decisions this semester. From the senate’s voting and re-voting fiasco over the Greek Week concert to the latest debacle – the Supreme Court’s postponement of student body elections – it seems as though SG is striving to continually outdo itself.
The Court ruled that the Election Rules Commission, the body responsible for overseeing the general elections and making sure candidates campaign fairly, was not properly formed. Per SG statutes, all members of the ERC must be confirmed by the senate. Only one member – Andrew Kirkland, the head of the ERC – was confirmed. Therefore, the Court ruled that elections must be postponed, writing in its decision that “all decisions made by the ERC are null and void.”
One has to wonder how this oversight was committed. How could the SG senate forget to confirm other members of this committee, one that is integral to ensuring that student body elections fairly take place?
The Court, through its decision, was trying to hold the SG senate accountable for this egregious error. Since proper procedure was not followed, the Court made its decision to ensure that, in its own words, “high ethical standards” are followed in the upcoming election.
Yet it seems interesting that the one that brought this oversight to the Court’s attention was senate President Pro Tempore James Culp. Culp was defending senate President Frank Harrison/senator Faran Abbasi’s ticket against one point assessed against it by the ERC. After learning of the Court’s decision, Culp said that the elections should continue as scheduled, but that the points assessed to each ticket should be null and void.
This would just conveniently make the problem go away, wouldn’t it? By finding the ERC to be a null and void organization altogether, thereby making all the decisions it has made to be null and void on a technicality, Culp doesn’t really have to do much in defense of the Harrison/Abbasi ticket.
With SG, these so-called technicalities and exceptions just seem to keep popping up. The voting and re-voting took place when the SG senate was deciding on the Greek Week concert is certainly a prime example of this – absentee ballots and vote verifications characterized the decision, which many students found to be quite suspicious.
Now, the SG elections and the ERC are touched by controversy, something that the ERC was surely created to avoid. But that seems to be the hallmark of the SG this semester – no matter how it may try, it cannot avoid this type of controversy and confusion.