Roger Kapoor regained his claim to the Student Association presidency Thursday night as the SA Student Court overturned a Joint Election Committee ruling that had invalidated Kapoor’s victory.
In a unanimous verdict, the Student Court said JEC members overstepped their authority by ruling on an issue for which there was no complaint, according to the summary judgement issued by Chief Judge Jon M. Rodeback.
The JEC ruled Kapoor ineligible for the presidency because he failed to report the fair market value of discounted pizzas for a campaign event in Thurston Hall. The original complaint involved the number of pizzas Kapoor ordered, not whether he correctly reported the charge under discount rules in the JEC charter, the Student Court ruled Thursday.
The JEC “clearly ruled outside of the scope of the complaint filed,” Rodeback wrote.
In a move that could prevent further court cases in an election that has stretched more than two weeks, the court also decided that Kapoor did not violate campaign rules by reporting the discount price of the pizza.
The court found that “bargaining is an acceptable practice under the definition of fair market value,” according to the judgement.
Kapoor released a statement early Friday morning about the ruling.
“I am pleased with the ruling of the court,” Kapoor wrote. “The decision proves the process works.”
JEC Chair Joshua Hiscock said the JEC respects the Student Court’s decision, but he stands by the committee’s ruling. He said it was reasonable for the JEC to look into Kapoor’s reporting of a pizza discount because it fell within the scope of the investigation.
“We felt we couldn’t disregard the financial statement and felt that we were right in what we did,” Hiscock said. “It’s like, if a police officer catches someone for speeding and then sees a gun in their car . we had to look into the financing inconsistency.”
Hiscock said no complaints are pending, and the JEC does not plan to pursue the issue. Complaints can be filed against a candidate until the candidate is officially certified, JEC members said.
Former presidential candidate Dan Loren said he disagreed with the Student Court decision. Loren would have entered a runoff election with Bob Simon for the presidency if the Student Court upheld the JEC decision.
“The Student Court has gone beyond its bounds in both decisions and doesn’t know its place,” Loren said. “I think they should be a lot more conservative and it would have been helpful to know that bargaining was a part of the fair market value definition.”
Kapoor wrote in the statement that he looks forward to serving the student body.
“Regardless of who you may have supported throughout this election, we invite all students to join us in building a more effective Student Association,” Kapor wrote.
Simon, who received the second most votes in the election, could not be reached for comment.