The Student Association court will hear a case Tuesday evening that will determine if the results of last week’s special referendum that may install a new constitution will become official.
On Nov. 29, sophomore Paul Roos filed a case with the Student Court blaming the special Joint Elections Committee, a two-member group overseeing the election, for gross mismanagement of the election due to insufficient promotion of the election. The next day the SA court decided it would hear the case and put an injunction on the results of the election, which took place Nov. 29 and 30. The Student Court will be hearing arguments for the case Tuesday at 9 p.m. at a location to be determined.
“(The) Plaintiff argues that the Joint Elections Committee has so egregiously failed to advertise the dates and procedures for the fall 2005 special election and has also so egregiously failed to inform the student body about the specific nature of the changes proposed in the referenda to warrant the voiding of the special election,” reads the brief from Roos, who said he has no official SA affiliation.
SA Sen. Chris Rotella (CCAS-U), one of the authors of the new constitution, said Roos’ arguments are “unfounded” and is confident the court will certify the results of last week’s election, which have not been publicly disclosed.
“The (special) JEC did everything they needed to do,” said Rotella, a sophomore who chairs the SA Rules Committee. “They advertised the election in The Hatchet and through a poster campaign, they oversaw the proper open and close of election locations and they hired poll watchers.”
“Nothing was mismanaged or controversial – they did a great job in the amount of time they had,” Rotella said.
After the SA passed the constitution through the Senate Nov. 9, SA President Audai Shakour signed the legislation the next week and the JEC was required by SA guidelines to hold an election within 20 days, Rotella said.
Rotella said Thanksgiving break was included in the 20 days, which impeded the JEC from advertising the week before the election.
Roos said the advertising campaign the JEC administered was short of complying with bylaw guidelines for the election.
“(The JEC) probably did the best job they could, but it’s just not good enough for such a substantial change,” Roos said.
Roos said he filed the complaint after he noticed polling locations around campus on Wednesday but had not heard about the election. After researching election bylaws, Roos said he felt the JEC did not follow all the election guidelines.
While the JEC counted the ballots last Thursday evening after the polls closed, the result of the election was not announced by order of the Student Court.
If a majority of students who voted last week voted yes, a new constitution would be installed and would replace the SA’s current governing document. The new constitution, if ratified, would redefine and reorganize some aspects of the SA, including the role of the executive vice president position and the SA court.
Perhaps the most controversial changes are the elimination of the regular JEC, a group appointed by the SA, Program Board and the Marvin Center Governing Board.