First election stands
Student Affairs ended nearly a month of uncertainty Tuesday, declaring Frank Harrison and Faran Abbasi the next student body president and vice president, respectively.
Harrison, who has been shadowing student body President Maxon Victor for about a month, said he had faith this would be the outcome.
Harrison and Abbasi defeated Ben Sens and Ernest “E.J.” Joe by a vote of 1,727 to 1,528 in March and had seemingly won. The election results were in question, however, because the Student Government Supreme Court deemed them null and void, ruling there was bias among the Election Rules Commission and rules were broken by the ERC.
The Court then said a new election should be held.
The ERC, however, certified the election results during the Court’s trial to determine the validity of the election results.
SA then had to step in and determine which of the two decisions would stand. It announced Tuesday it decided the Court did not have the authority or the jurisdiction to make its decision and said the ERC has authority in the matter.
According to Dean of Students Tom Miller, SA consulted General Counsel in coming up with its decision about the Court’s authority.
SA did say there were “a number of unfortunate circumstances” involved with the election, but that it considers the ERC’s decision “the conclusion of this election.”
Sens, in a written statement to the Oracle, blasted SA’s decision and the state of SG.
“Due to the ERC’s negligence and bias, an illegitimate ticket will now run Student Government,” Sens wrote. “I thought SG and the University stood for integrity and justice and that rules existed for a reason, but apparently the University would rather take the easy way out than stand up for those values. … If I was an executive officer in Student Government right now, I would be ashamed of the state of my organization.”
Sens added that he and Joe do not yet know what action they will take next, if any.
The controversy surrounding the election has caused much internal strife in SG and led to several resignations and requests for impeachment investigations.
Harrison said while he has to deal with the issues that have been brought up by the controversy, he plans to move forward and focus on his goals as student body president.
“Sometimes some of that, unfortunately, is inherent to political systems, but the best thing we can do is try to move forward at this point,” Harrison said.
Supporters of both the Court’s nullification and Harrison have been crying foul throughout the controversy.
The SG senate, which heavily supported Harrison, who is currently the senate president, began an impeachment investigation committee to look into Chief Justice Kristina Lawrence during the controversy.
Lawrence, who resigned Tuesday and thus is no longer impeachable, cited an internship opportunity in Tallahassee and corruption in SG as the reasons for her departure.
“Over the last several months, the Student Government has evolved into a corrupt organization which has diverted so far from acting in the best interest of justice and the student body, that I do not want to be associated with this organization any longer,” Lawrence wrote in her resignation letter.
Lawrence, who said she decided to resign before hearing SA’s decision, went on to write that she feels the Court made the right decision regarding the election results and the members of the judicial branch “are a part of the few uncorrupt Student Government leaders left.”
The senate was expected to be asked to look into impeachment charges against the Court’s remaining justices at Tuesday night’s meeting, which went late into the night. The claims against the justices included overstepping their bounds in hearing the election results case in the first place and breaking several rules in the Court’s explanation of how a new election should be held.