SA elections postponed after complaints filed against candidates

The Joint Elections Committee voted to delay Student Association elections by a week after a “large volume of complaints” was filed against the candidates running, the group announced Tuesday.

The JEC, the student group that oversees the election process, said in a statement that the elections would be postponed until April 5 and 6 to give the committee time to investigate the complaints. Elections were originally scheduled to take place on March 29 and 30.

“Postponing the election is the only way for us to ensure that we can investigate complaints with the due diligence and consideration they require,” the statement said.

The committee did not provide any information about the allegations that they are investigating.

JEC Chair Alex Simone said in an email “any and all information can be found in our statement on Facebook and the statements of the SA, Program Board, and Class Council.”

SA presidential candidate Adam Johnson said the JEC made its decision after the two other presidential campaigns, Lande Watson and Cole Ettingoff, made allegations of misconduct against each other. He declined to comment on what the specific allegations were.

Johnson said after the JEC debate Thursday, Associate Dean of Students Tim Miller and Anne Graham, the assistant director of student involvement and Greek life, called all presidential and vice presidential candidates, their campaign managers and the JEC together.

Johnson said Miller warned the group that negative campaigning needed to stop and there would be consequences if it didn’t.

The next day, Johnson said he called a meeting in the Marvin Center with only the three presidential candidates “to see how we can make it a more positive campaign.”

At the meeting, he said Watson and Ettingoff “complained about certain charges that were made toward each other.”

“There’s been a lot of bickering going on, a lot of going back and forth,” he said. “There’s tension between those two.”

Johnson said his campaign was a “bystander” and no complaints had been filed against him.

“I think it’s kind of sad that this is what SA elections have turned into,” he said.

Watson’s campaign said in a statement posted to Facebook that “baseless allegations have been made.” The statement did not provide further details.

The statement said that delaying the elections represented an “opportunity” to continue debating issues on campus.

“We now get one more week to have a campus-wide dialogue about the needs of students,” the statement said.

SA presidential candidate Cole Ettingoff said in a statement, “Bullying and harassment cannot be tolerated at GW.” He did not provide further details.

SA executive vice presidential candidate Sydney Nelson said she was not aware of any complaints that were filed against her campaign.

“We respect the JEC’s decision to postpone the elections to ensure a free and fair process,” she said.

SA EVP candidate Peak Sen Chua did not immediately return a request for comment.

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