Elections Code revised, UHR cools down

Photo by Garrett Shoemaker

Last week and on Sunday, the Undergraduate Judicial Cabinet (UJC) held hearings to determine whether Josephine Graves, current elections chair, did indeed violate the bylaws that the Undergradudate House of Representative (UHR) claims she did in last week’s resolution. 

“We gave a formal recommendation that [has not] been acted on yet, that will happen within five business days,” Rachel Stills, the Chief Justice, told UHR on Tuesday. “We looked at failures rather than just actual claims, so what that means is, rather than just for breaking the bylaws, but that actually affected what happened to SGA or would be best for SGA.”

After reviewing the undergraduate SGA (USGA) constitution,  UJC determined that they did not have the authority to remove the election chair from office: instead that power lies with the undergraduate president, Stills said.

“According to this constitution article, the president actually has the sole power to remove someone from office from any position, so our recommendation will be pointing to Evan,” Stills said, referring to Evan Gillon, the current president of USGA.

Feeling “personally and professionally” close to the situation, according to a letter forwarded to UHR last Thursday, Stills had recused herself from the hearings and deliberation process, appointing an Interim Chief Justice to take her place.

Specifically, it is Article IV of Section 2 of the USGA constitution that stipulates that “the President shall have the power to remove from office an student who he or she has appointed, except members of the Undergraduate Judiciary Cabinet or those in positions primarily responsible for trying student misconduct.”

The Elections Committee and chair, besides running USGA elections, also handle issues of elections code violations. While the Elections Committee was moved under the jurisdiction of UJC in Spring 2017 to insulate  the committee from the executive branch, at least for the Graves, the current Elections chair, the USGA president, Gillon, was involved in the appointment process before handing the appointee off to UJC for approval. 

During the UHR meeting on Tuesday, representatives voted to approve several changes to the elections identified through a review to bring it in line with USGA bylaws. At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, UHR entered into executive session in order to “discuss the current state of the House,” according to meeting minutes.

“I think it’s important to have this just be within the House, so we can have an intimate discussion about how we feel the House is operating without feeling any potential pressure from Cab also being present,” said Ajanta Choudhury, first year BIO, freshman class representative and UHR Secretary, who called the motion to enter executive session.

The campaign season for USGA will begin Monday, March 10, and last until March 29. Voting will occur from March 25 to 29, when the undergraduate presidential ticket and the representatives-elect will be announced.