The Student Association election stands in a state of paralysis as candidates,Joint Election Committee officials and students await a Thursday night SA Student Court showdown to decide whether presidential candidate Roger Kapoor will remain on the ballot.
The Student Court will hold a hearing Thursday at 9 p.m. in the Moot Court room of the GW Law School to determine whether Kapoor violated election rules by allowing community facilitators to campaign for him. If the Student Court upholds the JEC’s decision to charge Kapoor for posters hung on CF doors, he will be removed from the ballot and lose eligibility to become SA president.
Jon M. Rodeback, chief judge of the Student Court, issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday that barred the JEC from counting results of the election until it hears Kapoor’s case. Students may not find out election results until Friday night after the JEC finishes ruling on complaints against candidates.
The Student Court must lift the injunction before the JEC can determine the winner of the SA presidential election, JEC Chairman Josh Hiscock said.
“When the Student Court rules we are able to, we can run the data and (determine a winner),” Hiscock said.
The board of elections will announce the winners of the Program Board and Marvin Center Governing Board elections Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Hippodrome.
Hiscock declined to comment on whether the committee would consider a re-vote if Kapoor is removed from the ballot.
The JEC charter allows the Student Court to throw out election results and order a new election.
Other candidates await JEC decisions Friday to determine the fate of their campaigns.
SA Executive Vice President Cathy Resler filed ten complaints Tuesday against Change for Students, an organization that created a new SA constitution students voted on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I consider Change for Students as a candidate and want (the constitution) to be taken off the ballot,” Resler said. “It violates the student guide to rights and responsibilities and is against University policy.”
The constitution, authored by presidential candidate Daniel Loren and EVP candidate Mike Pellegrino, could be removed from the ballot if the JEC interprets that Change for Students represents a candidate and should be held to JEC rules for individual candidates.
Alycia Piontkowski, general counsel for the JEC, said the JEC could give any resulting violations to Loren and Pellegrino because they head Change for Students. Loren needs only four more violations to end his campaign.
Most of the complaints against Change for Students allege that the organization did not register campaign material with the JEC. Loren said he disagrees with the charges.
“As far as we’re concerned, we think that any charges against Change for Students could not be charged against us,” Loren said.
Loren said the JEC is at fault for failing to make rules about referenda.
“(The charter) says that the JEC will make rules on referenda and they didn’t,” Loren said. “We had no way of knowing what we could do.”
Loren may also face complaints for attending a Delta Tau Delta “Rock the Vote” party, which took place last Saturday.
SA presidential candidate Bob Simon, president of Delta Tau Delta, said that at most he expects one or two violations of bribery rules. But he said he believes giving beer out to students at the party did not fit JEC definitions of bribery.
“Every person was invited, every person campaigned. It’s not bribery,” Simon said, who also said he did not consider the party a campaign event.
Simon said he spoke with the JEC and registered the party with the University two weeks before the event.
Simon, the only presidential candidate without a violation, said the complaints will not affect his candidacy.
“I’m not worried about it at all because I’m the only one without any violations,” he said.
Simon said that although he thinks the JEC has done a good job enforcing the JEC charter, he feels the organization should have more members.
“I think they’re doing a pretty fair job. You see one rat in New York City, but how many don’t you see?” Simon said. “There should be a lot more eyes out there.”
Kapoor’s campaign manager, Evan McMorris-Santoro, said that although the Kapoor campaign has contested the JEC’s decision, “our only attack is legal,” he said.
“The JEC did its job on following up with the complaints,” he said. “We don’t believe they’re valid, however, and are going through with the appeals process we were allowed.”
Tension surrounding the JEC resulted in at least one resignation from the committee Wednesday night as votes were collected.
SA President David Burt said he asked Resler to call a special meeting of the Senate Saturday to appoint another member to the JEC. But Burt said that in the interim the JEC can function as long as it has a quorum of members.
Burt said he is critical of all the presidential candidates.
“The disappointment that I feel is lodged at all the candidates and how come we just can’t have a fair election,” he said. “It’s no one’s fault that this is turning into a bad situation except for the candidates running for office.”
-Russ Rizzo, Katie Warchut, Kate Stepan and Tim Donnelly contributed to this report.