University finds 1999 SA candidate was not a registered student

Former GW student Edward Meinert was not a registered student when he ran for Student Association president last year.

Meinert, who pled guilty to two counts of first-degree fraud Oct. 7, was last registered for classes in the spring of 1998, according to the Registrar’s Office.

Assistant vice president for Student and Academic Support Services Mike Gargano said the mistake can be attributed to the way the Joint Elections Committee, the body that regulates GW’s election process, functioned last year.

I don’t know how in the world this got by the JEC, Gargano said. This is one of the things missed by the committee.

Joe Bondi, vice chair of the JEC last year, said candidates are asked questions to determine their eligibility when they declare their candidacies. He said there is no formal check to ensure that a student is registered.

We took (Meinert’s) word, Bondi said.

Gargano and Bondi said there is an administrative check on eligibility once a candidate has been elected but said there is no administrative check when students first announce their candidacies.

We absolutely would have found out (that Meinert was not a student) at the certification stage, Gargano said.

Gargano said he believes the JEC Charter should change to include a check at the beginning of the process rather than at the end because it has the potential to change final election results.

Gargano said if Meinert, who received 250 votes in the election, had not been in the picture, former SA presidential candidate Alexis Rice may have had the chance to win. Rice entered into a runoff with Phil Meisner because she was short of winning outright by one vote.

Rice would not comment on how the race would have been affected had Meinert been removed from the race early. She said there were many mistakes made in the election last year, and that was just one of them.

Ed Meinert could not be reached for comment.

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