Arnold named 'unofficial president elect' after ERC grievance rulings disqualify Cocco

By Alex Rosenthal and Divya Kumar, EDITORS
On March 10, 2014

Student body presidential candidate Jean Cocco received the highest number of total votes for the second time in the runoff elections, but after the Election Rules Committee found four minor violations of campaign rules from his campaign, candidate Brandi Arnold and Shaheen Nouri were named the unofficial president and vice president elect Friday. Cocco earned 52 percent of the 3,600 votes in the runoff election, and during the first round of voting between three candidates, he led the vote count with 48 percent of the 4,928 votes. Election rules state that in order for a candidate to be named president, they must receive at least 50 percent plus one vote. While members of the Arnold-Nouri campaign burst into a cheer upon the announcement made by the ERC Supervisor, Cocco said he plans to appeal the rulings on the four violations to the Student Government Supreme Court, saying he wasn't given "due process" in being made aware of what the violations were in a timely manner.  The four violations were the result of the ERC's rulings on seven of the 11 grievances filed against the Cocco campaign. Arnold had two grievances filed against her campaign, which the ERC cleared.  Any candidate with three minor violations or one major violation is automatically disqualified.  "We have been given a mandate by the student body twice," Cocco said. "We will fight it to the end so the student voice is heard."  Arnold said while she earlier said she didn't think an election should be won through grievances, she thought they were a necessary part of the process. "We want to make sure we're holding people accountable, because it's unfair it you don't," Arnold said. "We are so happy and so excited to move forward and serve the student body."  Cocco said he felt the process was unfair and that he perceived bias against his campaign from the Election Rules Committee and said he wasn't told the proper rules of campaigning upfront, having to submit public record requests for information pertaining to campaign rules. He said he felt he was being held "guilty until proven innocent" in what he called a "witch hunt."
Nouri said he thought the process was fair.  "Every act is in accordance with values," he said. "It represents who you are. You need to hold people accountable and be an honorable person.You see things that occur out of honest mistakes and you see things that are not made out of honest mistakes. Either way, the process takes care of itself and kind of governs what falls where."  Cocco's hearing will take place the week after spring break.

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