Student Association officials cleared the way Thursday and Friday for Daniel Loren, Bob Simon and Roger Kapoor to stake their claim for the SA presidency if they win the vote, results of which will be released Wednesday morning.
The SA Student Court decided Sunday to allow vote counting to begin by lifting its injunction, which was imposed after all three presidential candidates faced complaints about campaign tactics last week.
The court reversed four violations the Joint Elections Committee assessed Kapoor early Friday morning, leaving four violations standing.
The JEC reviewed three more complaints about Kapoor later that day, charging him for an unregistered campaign pizza party and clearing him of two other complaints. Kapoor now holds five violations with no complaints pending.
A candidate with eight violations will not be certified as the winner of an SA election, even if he or she wins in a write-in campaign like former SA President Phil Meisner did in 1999.
Three of the four Kapoor violations reversed by the court involved community facilitators campaigning for Kapoor. Judges overturned a charge that Kapoor used Thurston CF Aron Kuehnemann to promote the party to his residents. Kuehnemann’s actions cannot be attributed to Kapoor, the court said.
The court ruled that bulletin boards advertising Kapoor campaign posters are acceptable, striking down two violations.
The JEC argued Thursday that CFs cannot campaign for candidates because they are University employees and remain on duty 24 hours a day. Posting campaign material on CF bulletin boards should also be against the rules because the boards are University property, JEC Counsel Alicia Pointkowski said Friday.
The court disagreed in their written statement.
“There is a fundamental difference between an employee and a student employee,” Judge Ron Jacobs wrote in the court’s opinion. The JEC cannot exclude CFs from campaign activity, the court ruled. Judges said the Community Living and Learning Center, not the JEC, should deal with objections to CF campaign activity.
The court also reversed a violation involving a Thurston pizza party because Kapoor had already received a penalty for holding the party in a common area, the court said.
The JEC ruled Friday that Kapoor will not be held liable for two GW College Democrats endorsement advertisements placed in The Hatchet Feb. 26, which exceeded the JEC limit of one endorsement advertisement per student group.
The JEC dropped bribery complaints for a Feb. 23 Delta Tau Delta “Rock the Vote” party hosted by Simon, the fraternity’s president. The decision freed SA Senate candidates Raj Parekh, Eric Daleo, Matt Hargarten, vice presidential candidate Josh Singer and Loren of complaints.
JEC Chairman Josh Hiscock said the party does not fall under JEC jurisdiction, because he said candidates at the party were not actively campaigning at the party. The party, which resulted in 10 student arrests for under-aged drinking, was registered with the University. Party organizers said the fraternity cleared the event with Hiscock before it was held.
“As long as you follow the rules, you can’t be in violation,” Parekh said. “We followed all the rules, we knew we wouldn’t be charged.”
The JEC also threw out complaints against Change for Students, freeing group leaders Loren and vice-presidential candidate Mike Pellegrino of potential violations.
SA Executive Vice President Cathy Resler filed ten complaints against the groups that sponsored the SA constitution proposal, saying the constitution referendum should be subject to the same campaign rules that apply to candidates running for office.
“We think that this is sort of ridiculous to define the referendum as a candidate, specifically where candidate means an individual,” Loren said at the hearing.
The JEC charter defines a candidate as “an individual who seeks election to SA office.” There are separate rules regarding referenda in the charter.
SA President Dave Burt said the JEC should not be blamed for the extensive litigation that blocked election results.
“No one is at fault for any of this madness except for the candidates running for office,” Burt said. “No one else can create a situation where candidates are breaking the rules except the candidate in question.”
Burt said if the results are released Monday, a possible run-off election, originally scheduled for Mar. 6 and 7 may not be held until after Spring Break.