Candidates mistakenly removed from ballot

Student Association candidates Atif Qarni and Heather Fink said they blame University disorganization and bureaucracy for mistakenly removing them from the SA ballot last Friday.

Both candidates were placed back on the ballot Monday afternoon.

My experience with the administration here is really just a pain in the butt, Fink said after meeting with Student Activities Center officials to question her removal Monday.

Qarni said his experience with SAC was a perfect example of internal problems within the University.

Both candidates were informed they were removed from the ballot in an e-mail Friday evening and allowed back in the race Monday afternoon.

Jason Anthony, coordinator for student organization management for SAC, said the candidates were placed back on the ballot because the circumstances that kept them from the ballot did not impede the positions they were running for.

Though Qarni said he knew he would be placed back on the ballot, he was instructed to stop campaigning until he met with SAC.

Fink said she returned back to a being a normal student for the weekend and lost momentum in her campaign.

Both candidates said they were happy to be placed back on the ballot promptly but said the University should have performed background checks on them sooner.

Things were handled as timely as they could under the circumstances, Anthony said.

Anthony said he could not perform background checks on candidates until the SA Election Committee submitted each candidate’s full name or student identification number. Although candidate lists were made public and posted in the Feb. 14 edition of The Hatchet, Anthony said he could not check on candidate backgrounds because some candidates share common names with other students. He did not receive the list of names and student numbers until Feb. 21.

Jeff Baxter, executive chair of the SA Election Committee, said he gave Anthony the names and social security numbers of most candidates, including Qarni and Fink, Feb. 14.

I don’t see how they are unorganized, Qarni said. Everyone knew that I was running, and two weeks of planning is ample amount of time. It shows the University being unorganized themselves, and putting the blame on students.

Anthony said the SA Election Committee’s late deadline for submitting the names or student identification numbers of candidates is an issue they should bring up next year.

Baxter said he disagrees.

I think the election committee deadlines were fine, he said. I just think there needs to be more sensitivity with getting the (background) checks done immediately.

Both Anthony and Baxter said background checks will take less time to complete next year if the candidate registration forms are changed to require full names and student numbers.

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