Following the win and subsequent major grievance trial of the Jaida Abbas and Jennifer Kelly ticket, the Student Government (SG) Senate will hold a selection of last resort Tuesday to determine who will be the 2021-22 student body president and vice president.
The selection of last resort will be held at 6 p.m. in a special session of the SG Senate to elect either Abbas and Kelly or Julia Cunningham and Jillian Wilson as student body president and vice president. The agenda for the meeting lists the selection of last resort as the last item of business before closing at 11 p.m. The public can view the session through the SG Microsoft Teams channel.
The Abbas and Kelly campaign team filed an appeal to Dean of Students Danielle McDonald on April 22 following the SG Supreme Court verdict that Abbas and Kelly had violated statute 706.5.8.1.2 that prohibits a ticket from using money to incentivize students to act in a specific way.
McDonald accepted the appeal. However, she said that the appeal process is normally given five business days and because of SG needing to move the election process forward, she was not able to make a decision.
“The Election Rules Commission and Senate leadership for consistency and in their interpretation of the deadline before selection of last resort would be enacted said that the SG president and vice president had to be certified and sworn in by Friday 5 p.m.,” she said. “That gave me less than two days to render a decision and I was not able to do that in that timeframe.”
The Senate must make a selection of last resort because the next SG term will begin May 10. Senate President Alliyah Edwards stated in an April 26 memorandum to the Senate that neither party will be able to speak in the Senate meeting.
“The selection of last resort will consist of both tickets that ran in the initial election and the Senate shall vote by a super majority who should be the president and vice president,” she said.
“The tickets will not be going through another trial when they come to the Senate, but the facts of the public-rendered opinion of the court will be provided to the Senate as all information needs to be presented to allow for a feasible, just and impartial decision to be made.”
The SG Supreme Court found April 13 President-elect Abbas and Vice President-elect Kelly to be in violation of statute 706.5.8.1.2 for offering a prize of a $25 gift card to a student for following their social media account, commenting on and tagging others in a post and sharing it. The violation statutorily disqualified the ticket from the election, in which Abbas-Kelly received 53 percent of the votes, as written in statute 706.5.10.1.
Despite being found guilty in a 7-1 vote by the court, the Abbas-Kelly ticket could still win the election if it receives the super majority, or over 50% of votes, from the Senate on Tuesday evening, according to Assistant Director of SG Advising, Training and Operations Jennifer Bielen. The number of votes needed will be determined after the first role call of the meeting.
“The Senate will vote on the ticket for the next student body president and vice president,” Bielen said. “The Abbas-Kelly ticket could win if they receive the super majority of the votes in the Senate.”
Senators will be able to vote for the Abbas-Kelly ticket or the Cunningham-Wilson ticket who, despite being in violation of three minor grievances as a result of the trial by the Election Rules Commission on April 6, are still eligible candidates.
Edwards noted that Chief Justice Shannon Harner and Ranking Justice Andrew-Paul Griffis will also be present to give the recorded opinions from the Abbas-Kelly trial.
After the opinions have been given, both tickets will leave the meeting and the Senate will vote.
The winning candidates will be certified following the selection of last resort and sworn in. Once the results are made official, the transition of power will begin. The winning ticket will take office May 10.
This is a developing story. Stay with The Oracle for more updates.