Ousted UACR board supported by both versions of club's constitutionBy Andrew Parks | 12/03/2014 8:41pm
Many students took note last week when an article entitled “Clash of Conservatives” appeared on the front page of The Crimson White, detailing a controversial election in a College Republicans meeting Nov. 18. Maverick Flowers, the organization’s president and his entire cabinet of officers were removed from office and replaced by a new Executive Board under highly suspect circumstances. The purpose of this column is to analyze the sequence of events as they’ve been reported by The Crimson White, and to assess the legitimacy of the election in question. Because I offer this analysis in the context of the roles I serve for various campus media outlets, I will admit first that I know and respect many of those involved on both sides of this issue and I have done my best to maintain my objectivity when reviewing this situation.
The first issue presented here is which constitution governs CR elections. The new board claims the last CR constitution on file with the SOURCE, the arm of the University which oversees student organizations, is the legitimate constitution, while the outgoing board claims that the most recently amended version of the constitution is the proper governing document. Under the older version, the new board claims its election was legitimate, whereas the old board claims this election was not legitimate under the more recent constitution. SOURCE guidelines outline that the most recent constitution submitted to their office is the proper one. The most recently amended version of the CR constitution was never submitted to the SOURCE, so it has no authority over CR elections.
While the new board may be correct in claiming that the older constitution is the legitimate governing document, they are incorrect in claiming their election was legitimate under that constitution. Upon review, I have found two portions of the old constitution which this election clearly violates.
The first is Article V, Section A, which states that elections must be called and a date be set for them by the sitting officers. Flowers and his entire board claim that they never called for such elections. The new board claims in response that a motion was made Nov. 3 to hold an election, which was improperly dismissed by Flowers. Robert’s Rules of Orders, which governs parliamentary procedure under SOURCE guidelines, states elections are governed by each organization’s constitution and relevant bylaws. Because the old constitution stipulates that the officers must call for an election and because Robert’s Rules defers to the old constitution by design, Flowers was correct in dismissing the original motion for an election by the new board and its associates as out of order. Since it was never called for by any sitting CR officer, the election of the new board to office on Nov. 18 was unconstitutional.
The second provision of the old constitution violated by this election is Article V, Section E, which states elections must be presided over by the two highest ranking officers not seeking election and the faculty advisor. According to Flowers, none of the officers on his board were present when elections were scheduled after the CR meeting was adjourned Nov. 3 or when they were held Nov. 18, which would render the new board’s rise to power unconstitutional. The new board asserts in response that while no chapter officers were present, two state officers of the College Republican Federation of Alabama were, those being Dalton Dismukes, vice chair for the Central Alabama Region, and Robert Crocker, state treasurer. In statements published by The Crimson White in an article entitled “State reps respond to accusations” and during an interview conducted by WVUA’s “Capstone News Now” November 25, Mr. Dismukes claimed he and Mr. Crocker derived authority to administer chapter elections from Robert’s Rules of Order.
Upon my own review of Robert’s Rules, I could find no section which gives state officers the authority to act in place of chapter officers under any circumstances. In the interest of being thorough, I expanded my search for Mr. Dismukes’s justification to include both the old constitution of the UA College Republicans chapter and the constitution of the College Republican Federation of Alabama. In neither of these documents could I find any stipulation giving state officers the authority to act in place of chapter officers. The election of the new board was unconstitutional in the second place because no appropriate officers presided over it.
As a Republican, I consider the rule of law a fundamental value. I am not alone in that assessment; its importance was also acknowledged by Ronald Reagan. If that is indeed a trademark characteristic of our party, then these elections must be recognized as invalid and the ousted CR officers restored to their rightful positions.
Andrew Parks is a senior studying political science. His column runs biweekly.