The All-Campus Judicial Council released their decision Monday voiding the recent Senate elections, deeming them unconstitutional since not all students were able to vote. Further, junior and At-Large candidate Atul Gulati was disqualified for failing to follow election bylaws.

The ACJC’s decision stated that the online voting system prevented many students from voting and no clear or consistent alternative was made widely available. To complicate the elections further, only 12 percent of the school — 426 undergraduates — voted in the elections.

“I’m working with Daryl Dulong to correct some of the problems with the voting system. This includes seeking out students that had difficulty voting and finding out what specific problems they had,” senior and election committee chair Steve Duszlak said.

Gulati was disqualified for hanging campaign posters in Wilson Commons, which is against election bylaws.

“I believe that ACJC’s decision was both unfair and fair. My goal was to be re-elected as 2004 senator or at-large senator, I thought they would redo one of these specific elections because I had been personally wronged,” disqualified candidate Atul Gulati said. “I believe that flyers hung up for only 25 minutes had no effect on the At-Large election.”Gulati signed a statement — as did all candidates — which dictated that the candidate had read the election bylaws. The bylaws specifically cite Wilson Commons as a place where posters are not to be hung.

SA President and senior Lonny Mallach represented Gulati and the entire student body at the ACJC hearing Sunday. He mainly pointed out students’ difficulties in voting and, in defense of Gulati, he cited other elections in which bylaws were broken but the elections were considered fair. He also made clear that bylaws are constantly changing and that it is difficult to follow them all.

“I realize this decision is unfair to the people who won, but fundamental ideas on democracy and fair elections have to supercede candidates as well as this individual election. I also understand and agree with Atul not being on the ballot,” Mallach said.

The ACJC consists of 10 students who made a joint decision regarding the entire election. “It was a difficult decision for us to make,” senior and ACJC Chief Justice Rachel Morrissey said. “We put a lot of time and effort into the decision. Ultimately we felt that the best possible option was to void the election.” Mallach agreed with the ACJC’s ruling. “I thought the ruling made sense. The ACJC felt that because so many people were barred from voting that the election was fundamentally unfair. A fundamental principal of the SA and any democratic system is that everyone has the right to vote,” he said.

The new election may take some of the ACJC’s suggestions, but ultimately the Senate and the Election Committee will determine the particulars of the next election.

“We have full confidence that the Senate can design and run a fair election. They can get it done fairly and quickly,” Morrissey said.Increased student involvement is important for the next election, Dean of Students Jody Asbury said. “What we need is for students to be engaged,” she said. “Students need to have confidence in the system. I hope we can look carefully at these systems to prevent this happening in the future.” Asbury plans to work with Director of Wilson Commons and Student Activities Anne-Marie Algier and the Senate.

Junior and ACJC Justice Erica Contini admits that their ruling it not perfect, but feels that is the best possible solution under the circumstances. “We understand that it’s a burden on the candidates, but having the second election will really afford the student body the right to voice their opinions on who they want to represent them,” she said.Mallach feels that positive change will come from these complications. “I look forward to the new elections happening in a timely and orderly manner. It will be interesting to see what long term changes come from this election,” he said.

“The SA has problems. I hope that this election will allow us to address and solve these issues and improve the functioning of the SA, elections and everything else,” he said.

The ACJC is allowing requests for appeals to their decision and have already turned down that of sophomore and Hill Court senator candidate Liz Gaskell.

Yunis can be reached at tyunis@campustimes.org.



CPE holds voter registration drives to boost turnout

With midterm elections rapidly approaching, students in the Center for Political Engagement are working to increase student engagement with the voting process.

Sue Connections!

You aren’t paying for a cold brew, calling it one is misleading, and there are these really cool things called lawsuits! 

“Bias-Related Incident Report” on bias incident data to be released in December

Associate Dean for Diversity Dr. Jessica Guzmán-Rea announced Monday that work is beginning on the College’s 2020-2022 “Bias-Related Incident Report," which she says is set to be ready around December.