Jared Hunter should be disqualifiedBy Mike Smith | 03/27/2017 12:18am
CW / Kylie Cowden
However, nothing in the report could even compare to the last two alleged violations, both regarding SGA President Elect Jared Hunter. Not only did he allegedly not follow through on his punishment for prior election violations, but he also (publicly) accepted the endorsement of The Machine, which is also a possible major violation.
The Office of Student Conduct received both of these alleged violations. Now, many will say this is a witch-hunt, that Jared Hunter has been on the unlucky side of a few slip-ups and that his opponents, including the Elections Board, have taken advantage and run a smear campaign against him.
These claims are ridiculous. Let’s go over the facts of the election.
Hunter’s campaign spent $500 on alcohol for a campaign event. Hunter and his supporters can claim that he didn’t personally pay for bar tab, but he knew it existed and chose to continue with the event. This was a major violation of the Elections Manual, according to the Elections Board.
Moreover, during an investigation into this issue, Jared Hunter also falsified information to the Elections Board. This is another major violation, according to the Elections Board.
On top of that, the Hunter campaign went hundreds of dollars over the campaign-spending limit. That is an intermediate violation, according to the Elections Board.
In turn for all of these violations, the Elections Board ruled that Jared Hunter had to both stop campaigning until the Monday before the election and put in 45 hours of community service during the semester, 10 of which had to occur before the election. Many saw the punishment as harsh but fair—including myself.
Hunter’s supporters claimed that his appeal to the Student Judiciary successfully cleared him of these allegations. In fact, in their opinion on the appeal, the only thing the Student Judiciary changed was reducing the campaigning blackout period by a few days. Aside from that, however, the Student Judiciary agreed with every Elections Board ruling and punishment.
So, that is four confirmed or pending major violations and one intermediate violation. There is only one course to take.
The Elections Board, the Office of Student Conduct or whoever’s hands this is now in should disqualify Jared Hunter. This is not about politics, or even about the person; this is about whether we care about our system of rules. This is about whether we care about the integrity of our elections.
However, this decision has to be soon. There are about two weeks until inauguration. At that point, Machine members are going to argue moving Casey Nelson, the executive vice president, up to the presidency.
While Nelson is a great person and won a fair campaign, this is not a resignation midway through a term where presidential succession is the legitimate option; this is determining the valid winner of the student body’s vote.
After due process is finished, which would hopefully be soon, Hunter should be disqualified and one of two things should happen. Either Gene Fulmer becomes the valid winner, or there is a runoff between Fulmer and Lillian Roth. I personally don’t know which option follows past precedent, or if there is even precedent to follow. Luckily, we have an Elections Board to make that decision.
Obviously, either of these options would cause chaos. Many people would be mad and there would be plenty of claims of bias. But this is the price we pay for having a fair system of elections. If we don’t have that, then we have nothing.
Mike Smith is a sophomore majoring in economics. His column runs biweekly.