The Student Association Senate passed a bill Monday night that will give the Joint Elections Committee – the body that oversees SA elections – more control over setting election dates.
The senate voted unanimously to change the JEC bylaws to allow the postponement of the election if the JEC deems the action necessary. The amendment was updated to allow the JEC to make up to two postponements, each lasting no more than two weeks. Elections must be completed no less than one week before the beginning of reading week – the week between the end of classes and the beginning of finals.
Sen. Jack Jomarron, U-At-Large, said he sponsored the bill because it will allow the JEC to postpone to “where they see fit” past April 15, which the previous bylaws dictated as the final day elections can occur.
“This will provide the flexibility to handle this year and to deal with what has been a complicated election, to say the least,” he said.
The JEC postponed this year’s elections by a week to April 5 and 6 to conduct an investigation into complaints filed against SA presidential candidate Lande Watson’s team. The JEC disqualified Watson on Saturday. The two presidential candidates set to be on the ballot this year will be Cole Ettingoff and Adam Johnson.
Watson filed an injunction Monday with the Student Court, seeking another postponement of the elections while she appeals her disqualification.
JEC chair Alex Simone spoke during the public comment session of the meeting and announced that the JEC voted not to postpone elections further.
“We are not going to push back the elections,” Simone said. “We are confident in all the decisions that have been made in the last 72 hours.”
She also asked the SA to consider rewriting the JEC charter in the future, saying that last week’s proceedings surfaced a “couple of holes in the charter that no one’s realized before.”
SA Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno also addressed the SA elections and said that he was disappointed in the issues and complaints raised about this year’s elections during the last week, referring to them as the “elephant in the room.”
He said the events caused the SA to lose some of its good rapport with the administration.
“Frankly, administrators do not want to work with children,” Falcigno said. “Candidates this year have been childish.”
He added that the SA needed to concentrate more on its fundamental mission of student advocacy and University relationships.
“I think that we need to seriously refocus ourselves – as candidates, as senators, as members of the SA – and try to build up the good rapport that we have inflicted such a deep wound into,” he said.
Falcigno also expressed concerns on behalf of students who may have been off-put by the events of the past week.
“I feel bad for the students, because we are the sole advocacy body on this campus,” Falcigno said. “They don’t care about your resume or your JEC complaints. They care about coming here and having a good experience. We need to be here to advocate.”