The student government Judicial Board is reconsidering a student senate candidate’s appeal of her disqualification from the student elections process after she presented to them a scolding letter from a law school student.
Cassandra Fowler was disqualified as a senate candidate at an Elections Committee hearing in early March, when Student Fee Committee candidate Shannon Eikum said that Fowler verbally threatened to kill her dog. Fowler was not present at the time of the Elections Committee decision.
On Fowler’s first appeal, the Judicial Board did not reach a decision about her case.
“We didn’t vote to uphold [the Elections Committee’s decision],” said Judicial Board member Andy Judd, “We just didn’t vote to overturn it.”
The letter, written by University of Minnesota student Aaron D. Knott, outlined reasons why Knott thinks the Elections Committee was wrong to disqualify Fowler. “Ms. Fowler… is being punished more substantially [for threatening the dog] than attempts to illegally solicit votes and directly influence the outcome of the election,” it read.
The board considered the letter new evidence. They agreed to go over Fowler’s case again this Friday, delaying a decision until the Elections Committee has a chance to respond to the appeal.
“Since the Elections Committee decided this issue, a response would be appropriate,” Judd said.
Fowler said that no matter what the Judicial Board’s decision, she believes what the Elections Committee decided was wrong and will appeal again.
“I plan on being victorious,” she said, “You can’t kick someone off the senate race for something that had nothing to do with the election. If I have to keep appealing, I’ll spend money on a lawyer.”
Judd said that while the letter itself was enough new information for the board to reconsider her case, the content had some bearing as well.
“I felt that the opinion of an outside legal expert was important to consider,” he said, adding that he cannot speak for other members of the board. “Whether or not our final decision will reflect that, I can’t say until we hear the case.”