Student Association presidential candidate Ben Traverse is not out of the woods yet.
While the Joint Elections Committee acquitted the junior Wednesday night of two violations that would have resulted in his dismissal from the March 23 and 24 run-off election, the organization will discuss an additional two complaints this week that may still result in his disqualification.
As of Wednesday night, Traverse will remain in a run-off with junior Audai Shakour that was originally scheduled for this week. The Student Court postponed the run-off for the Wednesday and Thursday after spring break to ensure the elections would be held when all students are on campus.
The JEC found Traverse guilty of only one of three violations Wednesday. With that violation, which was for distributing palm cards in the Law School, he is two away from being booted from the election. The JEC will discuss on Thursday and Friday whether there are grounds for the two additional complaints lodged against him.
“Obviously I am relieved that I was acquitted of these violations, but I am disappointed that even one went through,” Traverse said. “I was confident from the beginning that these would not go through because the allegations are borderline idiotic.”
Executive Vice President-elect Morgan Corr was also acquitted of two infractions Wednesday night that would have removed him from his post and led to a run-off between write-in candidates Tim Saccocia and Asher Corson.
This week, the JEC will also discuss a complaint that Traverse’s opponent, junior Audai Shakour, allegedly distributed palm cards outside a basketball game. Shakour never submitted the handouts to the JEC.
Shakour was found guilty Wednesday of one violation for not reporting a social group on the www.thefacebook.com networking Web site. He has one other violation stemming from his failure to attend a candidates meeting in the beginning of the election season. If Shakour is found guilty of the newest violations, he will still be four away from the seven-infraction limit that would result in disqualification.
Wednesday’s decisions came two days after the Student Court ruled in favor of Shakour, who claimed that a run-off planned for this week would have “disenfranchised” Law School students.
Law students, who are on spring break until Monday, were under the mistaken assumption that they could vote off campus via their e-mail account, the court found. They actually needed to receive permission from the Law School dean to cast absentee ballots, an action most did not undertake.
Shakour, who finished second in last week’s general election, argued that a previous JEC rule that allowed any student with a law.gwu.edu e-mail account to vote in the election was actually contradictory to the oversight body’s charter.
“The court made the accurate decision to postpone the run-off election to ensure that all voters get the same opportunity to vote, and at the same time, that the charter and the rules passed by the Senate are upheld,” said senior Lee Roupas, who represented Shakour.
Traverse, who carried the Law School vote in last week’s election, said Shakour “was not trying to postpone the election in the Student Court case. He was trying to disenfranchise the Law School votes.”
Shakour said the JEC is doing the right thing in following the charter and holding the election when all undergraduates and graduate students are taking classes.
“We are looking out for the interest of the Law School students,” Shakour said. “We are just trying to make sure that everyone gets a fair chance to vote.”
A student close to this year’s election said Shakour fought
to postpone the election because absentee votes from the Law School already sent in were favoring Traverse.
“Audai knew that the votes from the Law School were coming in for
Ben,” the student, who requested anonymity, said. “If the absentee
votes had been counted Ben easily would have won the graduate vote.”
The student said Law School students are less inclined to vote in the
postponed run-off election because of what he said was a cumbersome process.
“For Law School students to vote, they cannot do it online, they must
wait in a line, get their name authorized by the JEC and vote paper ballot,” the source said. “A lot of Law School students had already voted via e-mail for Ben before the Court made their decision.”