Beisell will not appeal Soto victory

Patrick Beisell, who ran against Rudy Soto for the 2007-08 ASPSU presidential seat, said he will not appeal the Elections Board decision to revalidate Soto as student body president.

Patrick Beisell, who ran against Rudy Soto for the 2007-08 ASPSU presidential seat, said he will not appeal the Elections Board decision to revalidate Soto as student body president.

Soto was declared president of the Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) on May 22, after a month of appeals and confusion among ASPSU and students in the university. A week before, the Elections Board had voted to invalidate Soto as a candidate for office because of eligibility requirements and had declared Beisell president.

Although he said he does not agree with the decision to validate Soto, Beisell said he does not feel it is in the best interest of the students or ASPSU to file an appeal.

“The decision that came down was definitely shady,” Beisell said, adding that someone else may want to appeal the decision. If someone were to appeal the decision, it would have to be filed before June 1, when the new ASPSU administration takes office.

“I know there are people out there that want to [appeal the decision], but I hope they don’t,” Beisell said.

Soto said he is happy that the process to fill the president and vice president spots is finally moving forward.

“This very possibly could be the craziest election season that PSU has ever experienced and I think it’s better that he doesn’t appeal,” Soto said. “Overall, I respect him more for it.”

Soto was elected and validated as president of ASPSU on April 20, at the end of the student government elections. Beisell filed an appeal to the Judicial Board, which challenged Soto’s eligibility that same day.

Soto and running mate Brad Vehafric received 999 (52.3 percent) of the total 1,909 votes, beating out Beisell and Johnnie Ozimkowski, who finished with 910 votes.

The Judicial Board upheld Beisell’s appeal in late April and recommended that the Elections Board invalidate Soto as president because he dropped below a six-credit requirement used to determine the eligibility of ASPSU candidates.

Soto said he dropped below the six-credit minimum during the election because he was adding and dropping classes, a right he said he believes he has as a PSU student. The elections were held during the third week of spring term, still within the designated Portland State add/drop period.

After nearly a month of debate, Soto was declared invalid as a candidate and Beisell was declared president on May 15.

One week later, Soto was declared president again after Chip Lazenby, Oregon Department of Justice legal counsel for Portland State, gave the Elections Board a document that said the standard time to check enrollment at PSU is the end of the fourth week of the term.

The Elections Board decided to validate Soto as president because of this definition, saying that he was allowed to drop below the credit requirement because of the university add/drop period.

“The university and legal counsel both gave their stance. Really their opinion holds a lot of weight–and I think that’s really what decided this,” Soto said.

Soto said he is excited to move on to next year and to put this situation in the past.

“This has been a long and drawn-out process,” he said. “I feel relieved and ready to move forward.”

ASPSU elections were originally scheduled for the ninth week of winter term, but were postponed until spring term. The ASPSU constitution, which gives guidelines for running student government elections, is set up for elections that occur during winter term and not spring term.

The ASPSU constitution was revised to hold elections during the fourth week of spring term.

Judicial Board Chair Keith Creech said that he is worried about how the elections will work next year. Creech and another Judicial Board member will be graduating this year and will not be at PSU to guide the new board should there be a similar situation next year.

“There had been kind of a hope to leave a legacy that would enable a functional election,” Creech said. “The main concern that I have now is that the exact opposite is in place.”

Creech said that the information provided by the PSU administration is confusing, and that paired with the new election date, it will create major problems.

“I am concerned that next year’s elections will be a disaster,” he said. “You could run into a situation with people voting who aren’t eligible to vote and people running that aren’t eligible to run.”

Creech said that because credits are not checked until the fourth week and elections are held in the fourth week, candidates will not register for their classes until after the elections, enabling them to campaign full time.