The Student Association presidential election has devolved into a battle in the courts. With the SA Student Court and the Joint Elections Committee poised to rule on complaints, violations and appeals, the legitimacy of the election may be threatened if unjust rulings are issued. The court and the JEC would be wise to consider the following.
The court and JEC will sort through several complaints and appeals involving Roger Kapoor’s campaign this week. One allegation – that Kapoor should be sanctioned for multiple endorsement ads placed in The Hatchet by the GW College Democrats – should be dismissed. Student organizations contract with The Hatchet to place endorsement ads. Candidates in this instance had no involvement.
Other allegations have surfaced regarding community facilitators in Kapoor’s campaign. Kapoor, a CF himself, certainly has CF friends who will logically support him by posting fliers on their doors. This conduct should not be held against Kapoor. Only when CFs use their position as GW employees to further a candidate’s cause – specifically prohibited in the JEC charter – should penalties be assessed.
Another issue before the JEC is the numerous complaints filed by current SA Executive Vice President Cathy Resler against the referendum for a new SA constitution. Resler is attempting to apply rules governing individual candidates’ campaigns to ballot questions in an obvious attempt to have the referendum disqualified. This effort to short-circuit students’ right to vote on the issue is completely unwarranted. The electorate, not SA officials, should decide the question.
Finally, the JEC faces questions surrounding a Feb. 23 party at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house. While clearly the party supported the campaign of Bob Simon, who also serves as the fraternity’s president, it appears not to have violated any specific sections of the JEC charter – although the vague document could be interpreted differently by the JEC. Simon’s conduct and that of his fraternity should be swiftly dealt with by the University if serving alcohol to minors violated any of GW’s policies, but candidates should not be punished for breaking rules that do not exist.
The ultimate resolution of these cases is left for the court and the JEC to decide. But if any candidate is disqualified from the election, a new election must be held. Students deserve the right to choose between viable candidates.