By TOPHER PAYTON
The SGA Advisory Board announced the Siahkoohi/Perrin platform is ineligible for the office Wednesday, April 30.
The Advisory Board met Tuesday night and determined the decision made by the Student Court in the case of Bailey Cox vs. The Elections Committee to be incorrect. The board voted to have executive slate candidates Damir Siahkoohi and John Perrin removed from the ballot by a 5-3 majority vote.
“The SGA Advisory Board finds that the Siahkoohi/Perrin executive slate should be removed from the ballot. Per the SGA Election Bylaws, Section C, Petition and Appeals Process, Item i, ‘if an executive candidate is removed after the elections, the candidate with the next highest total votes assumes the position,’” according to their opinion.
As a result of this case, executive slate candidates Kyle Nicholas and Rachael Lander will now assume office as SGA President and Executive Vice President.
Student Senator Bailey Cox appealed the decision to the Advisory Board after Student Court ruled in favor of the Elections Committee, determining that Siahkoohi and Perrin did not violate SGA Election Bylaws. The Advisory Board also determined this decision to be incorrect, voting 5-3 that Siahkoohi and Perrin did violate the bylaws.
The original grievance filed to the Elections Committee said Siahkoohi left a campaign banner hanging off the Powell Student Center balcony after the electronic polls in Powell opened. Election Bylaws state there is to be no active or passive campaigning in Powell on the day of elections, according to the grievance filed.
The difference between the Powell Building and the Powell Student Center has been a hotly debated topic in this series of hearings. The Elections Committee determined them to be different saying the Powell Building has be enclosed by walls, Student Court agreed with this decision.
“The SGA Advisory Board defined the Powell Student Center as the Powell Building, anything underneath the Powell roof/awning, Powell balconies, Powell corners, and Powell Plaza, as per the University reservation process,” according to the board’s opinion document.
In Cox’s original appeal, he claimed the Powell Student Center is not just one building with four walls; the walkway and the balcony are both covered by insurance, meaning it is part of the center.
The night of the SGA election, the Elections Committee ruled unanimously in favor of Siahkoohi and Perrin. After this, Cox filed an appeal to have this decision overturned by Student Court.
Student Court heard the case Wednesday, April 23, and decided unanimously that the decision of the Elections Committee was correct and no violation occurred. The result of this case urged Cox to file his appeal with the Advisory Board, something that has not happened since the spring of 2012.
Sean Potter, who represented the Elections Committee at the Student Court hearing, told the student justices in his opening statement that the words that matter the most are the words that govern the SGA, the same words the Elections Committee used to base their decision. At the conclusion of his opening statement Potter took a sheet of paper and taped it to the front of the lectern and asked the Justices to consider if that was inside the lectern, or off the lectern.
John Hardin, who served on the Elections Committee and a witness on behalf of the defense, said the committee took the bylaws to mean that campaigning had to be done closed inside the building.
In a closing statement, Cox said the precedent has always been to take down the banners during an election, that’s what everyone else has done and because of this he said he wants the decision made by the Elections Committee over turned.
In Potter’s closing statement he said the decision made by the Elections Committee was based on the wording of the current bylaws.
The Student Court reached its decision last Thursday.
“The Court found that the Elections Committee decision was correct in that the Siahkoohi/Perrin Executive Slate did not breach the Elections Bylaws because the banner was not in the Powell Student Center at the time that electronic polls were open,” according to Student Court Opinion document.
The court reached this decision unanimously and ordered that the Elections Committee’s decision not be overturned.
“I personally was not pleased with the results of both the Court Hearing and the decision made by the Elections Committee,” Cox said. “I find the precedent set that a banner can be up in the Powell Student Center to be a bit ironic as we are operating on the same bylaws as we have been since May of 2012, yet in previous elections a banner was not allowed to be in the Powell Student Center.”
Nicholas and Lander were inaugurated into office at the annual SGA Banquet.