Disqualified senator-elect to challenge JEC ruling in Court

The general election ended two weeks ago, but one Student Association Senate seat is still being contested.

Former Senator-elect Matt Cohen (SoB-U) is filing paperwork with the SA Student Court to appeal the invalidation of his election, he told The Hatchet Tuesday night.

After the general election, Cohen was disqualified for surpassing the $500 senatorial campaign spending-limit on a school bus rental, according to the JEC report. Cohen said that he split the $360 bus rental-fee equally among four other candidates, including Executive Vice President-Elect Brand Kroeger. But Cohen’s financial form does not indicate this and only lists one payment of $360, according to the report.

Cohen, a junior, said he “didn’t do anything malicious or knowingly.”

“I was elected and won,” Cohen said. “If I had done something wrong or malicious, I would take it and move on. I feel I am being unjustly disqualified.”

He said that there was some “conversation” between the JEC and candidates about how finances should be reported and his violation was in “direct conflict” with these conversations.

“I recorded my finances the way I interpreted it from the Charter,” Cohen said. “I did what I thought was right.”

He said the JEC rules on reporting finances are a “gray area.”

“The committee is the committee and there are rules and penalties,” said Cohen. “But this is a gray area that needs special attention.”

The JEC report indicates that Cohen’s “confusion” is irrelevant.

“Ultimately, candidates, including Mr. Cohen, may have had a lack of communication between each other before submitting their forms, which resulted in inconsistencies,” the JEC report from last week stated. “What may have happened regarding confusion between candidates in completing the forms is not, however, relevant. Mr. Cohen’s Financial From was completed incorrectly.”

During the general election, Cohen received the second-most votes for the two Senate School of Business seats, which allowed him to claim one of the two seats. He received 161 votes, which was two less votes than Nathan Brill (SoB-U), a junior, according to JEC election results.

Following Cohen’s disqualification, third-place candidate freshman Jake Lansburgh, a former Student Union member, became SA senator-elect for the School of Business.

“I think Matt and Jake are great candidates and would do a good job in the Senate,” said Kroeger, a sophomore. “However, I do believe that Matt was a legitimately elected student. He was out there running an election like anyone else.”

With the Student Union gaining the SoB-U seat that Cohen vacated, the slate now occupies all undergraduate senate seats.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.