Judicial board rules on ASPSU vacancies

Incoming student government leaders will take office June 1, and any empty seats at that time will be filled by appointment by the new administration, the Judicial Board confirmed Friday.

The decision to implement student government constitutional amendments immediately means the transfer of power from the Harper/Klute to the Devaney/Woon administration will occur June 1 instead of May 1.

Contrary to rumors circulating before the ruling, runner-up candidates from this year’s election cannot take potentially empty seats. The Devaney/Woon administration will appoint new applicants if and when vacancies occur.

“There’s one process described in the constitution,” justice Jennifer Stocks said, referring to appointment. “There’s no process for returning to the election results.”

The Devaney/Woon slate had the most to lose from the method of returning to the list of runner-up candidates. Since every candidate associated with the Devaney/Woon slate won a seat, all candidates left on the election lists ran on the opposing Barron/Craven slate. To date, no elected officials have resigned, but senator elect Billy Taylor said he asked for the Judicial Board’s clarification because of the perception that Devaney/Woon slate members were targeted for disqualification both during the campaign and afterward, when ASPSU adviser Natalee Webb asked senators elect to resign from their seats. Webb later scaled back the directive.

Devaney/Woon slate members also submitted the question of when constitutional changes should be put in place, on the grounds that accepting the changes immediately would keep the Harper/Klute administration an extra month. Senator elect Justin Myers suggested an elaborate system of having the chief justice of the Judicial Board act as interim president.

The justices recalled precedents, including this year’s issue of instant recall voting, of specifying when non-immediate changes should take effect, with justice Gazal Youssefi motioning that all constitutional amendments would “affect the same election as they were voted on” unless explicitly specified. The motion passed unanimously.

“Obviously there was no intent to trick or slip something funny by the student body,” Stocks said.

Six weeks after the ASPSU election, the Judicial Board continues to issue rulings that affect the incoming student leaders. Friday, the board will hear more questions relating to the election, including an appeal by Cassandra Fowler, a candidate for senator who was disqualified during the election.