The Student Association Senate adjourned at 2:38 a.m. Wednesday without passing a 2005 Joint Elections Committee Charter to govern the March elections.
The meeting was stopped when Ryan Kilpatrick (ESIA-U) left, saying it was irresponsible for a JEC charter to be passed with only half of the voting senators present. Many senators left as the meeting went on later into the early morning. When Kilpatrick left, he deprived the Senate of the least number of members required for the meeting to continue.
By the end of the meeting, the Senate confirmed Christopher Jenkins, a second-year graduate student, to be one of the five members of the JEC. SA President Omar Woodard nominates three JEC candidates, which are screened by the Rules Committee and then sent to the full Senate for confirmation.
The latest delay in finalizing a committee for the March voting came after two of Woodard’s nominations for the JEC, sophomores Alexandra Valenti and Kathryn Lux, were not approved at a Rules Committee meeting Sunday night. Woodard re-nominated Valenti and Lux Tuesday evening.
The Senate will hold a special meeting before Feb. 7 to debate the confirmation of the two JEC candidates. The JEC, a five-member body that monitors elections, is comprised of three appointees from the SA and a member each from the Marvin Center Governing Board and the Program Board.
Committee chairman Ben Traverse (CCAS-U), who is running for SA president, said Lux and Valenti were not qualified and that he knew of other candidates who were more qualified that applied for the position.
“Given the strict time constraints, it wasn’t me opposing these candidates, it was that these were not the right people for the job,” Traverse said.
Woodard said Traverse and the Rules Committee were politicizing the nomination process in an effort to put their favored candidates on the JEC.
“The role of the Rules Committee is to vote on the nominees’ merits, not to judge them against others I did not choose to nominate,” Woodard wrote in an e-mail Monday. “It seems to me that the Rules Committee leadership … chose to vote down these impartial, capable nominees, thus politicizing the JEC nomination process.”
Some senators said that finalizing the JEC is particularly important since last year’s elections were marred by allegations of lost ballot boxes and voter fraud.
So far, the Rules Committee has four members running for office in March, including “Coalition to Reform” candidates Traverse for president; Morgan Corr (CCAS-U) for executive vice president; and Eli Mazour (SEAS-U) for Senate. C.J. Calloway (SBPM-U), who is not part of the slate, has also publicly stated he will run for president.
Jon Ostrower, a vice president of the Residence Hall Association who plans to run for president, called for members of the Rules Committee running for president to recuse themselves from approving JEC members.
“For the sake of the fragile reputation of (the) Student Association, it is best to avoid any appearance of impropriety,” Ostrower said.
When Traverse and Calloway declined Ostrower’s request, he called for the JEC nominees to bypass the Rules Committee and be brought before the full Senate for confirmation.
Registration for the March 2 and 3 elections will take place between Feb. 7 and 11. By 6 p.m. on Feb. 11, all candidates must turn in a JEC form with signatures of 2 percent of voting constituents, a number that varies based on position.