A heated Student Government hearing ended late Thursday evening after written correspondence and several witnesses were brought before the SG Supreme Court to determine the validity of the student body elections. The Court has up to 24 hours to deliberate and deliver its final ruling.
If the Court determines the ERC was not performing its duties properly, it could theoretically nullify the recent student body elections. That would mean that it would be as if the elections never took place and would have to start over.
Former SG senator Jennifer Wilson brought claims before the Court that the Election Rules Commission, which governs student body elections, had not properly performed its duties and showed bias through the election season toward student body President-elect Frank Harrison and Vice President-elect Faran Abbasi.
Thursday night’s installment of the hearing began with former SG senator Jeremiah Pederson, who was defending the ERC, motioning that the Court throw out the case. Pederson made a similar motion on the first night of the trial, March 9, but Thursday night’s motion was a little different – Pederson’s reasoning was backed up by the opinion of USF General Counsel.
Pederson submitted e-mails from Joanne Adamchack, USF assistant General Counsel, explaining why the Court should not be hearing the case.
The Court deliberated on whether or not to throw out the case for more than 45 minutes, and eventually returned and ignored the opinion offered by Adamchak, saying the hearing would go on.
The hearing then began with the end of questions for Wilson’s last witness, Ernest “E.J.” Joe. Joe unsuccessfully ran for student body vice president. He made a variety of claims that the ERC treated his ticket unfairly. He claimed, for example, that the ERC did not fairly handle paperwork regarding his ticket.
Pederson called no witnesses on behalf of the ERC.
Since SG is in he scope of Student Affairs, it is feasible that Vice President of Student Affairs Jennifer Capeheart-Meningall and/or Dean of Students Tom Miller could step in and remedy the situation in a manner he or she sees fit.
In the midst of the ongoing hearing, the ERC officially certified the student body election results on Wednesday, declaring Harrison and Abbasi the victors.