The ASPSU elections committee decided Tuesday that current Student Fee Committee (SFC) Chair Tracy Earll will serve again next year, instead of SFC Chair-elect Erin Watari.
Watari ran in the March 2003 ASPSU elections as a write-in candidate, but her name was listed with the other SFC chair candidates on the ballot.
Watari did not attend candidate orientation, as required for all candidates by the elections committee bylaws.
Also, four candidates that ran and were elected to the senate were removed because they did not attend orientation either.
These decisions came after the Evaluation and Constitutional Review Committee (E&CR) made rulings regarding specific sections of the elections committee’s bylaws.
The E&CR ruling regarding write-in candidates states that “the elections committee went beyond their discretion … for write-in candidates and how they were placed on the ballot.”
Based on this ruling, the elections committee was forced to make a decision about how to handle the obvious violations regarding Watari’s candidacy.
Kelvin Nicholson, a member of the elections committee, said they considered three options about how to handle the violations regarding the SFC chair.
One option stated that the E&CR acted prematurely and the elections committee’s decision to list write-in candidates was within their own power, Nicholson said.
Another option was to hold new elections for SFC chair, but Nicholson stated that the legality of that option was “if-fy.”
The elections committee decided that Watari’s votes were void and the runner-up, Earll, would take office in July when the SFC changes over to the new staff.
The elections committee has not made any official statement about Watari or Earll, directly.
The E&CR also ruled that “Any candidates that did not attend a candidate orientation meeting are therefore disqualified.”
Due to this ruling, Matt Wallace, Reina Abolofia, Golden Ashby and Rachel Searle were removed from the ASPSU senate.
According to ASPSU Vice President Joe Johnson, those four will be appointed to the senate. They will take office if the new senate votes to approve their appointment.
E&CR member Michael-Sean Kelley stated that the E&CR only interpreted the elections committee bylaws and did not make any changes or decisions about the election results.
“We were upholding the election committee bylaws,” Kelley said.
Earll said she felt that the turn of events regarding the elections results were unfortunate, but was glad to continue her position.
“I think that this year I have actually been more fair in distributing money than past SFCs,” Earll said. “There is definitely a desire for all of these groups to be on our campus.”
In other news, university PSU President Daniel Bernstine signed off on the SFC budget for 2003-04, but not the added recommendation to include the approximately $120,000 based on the initiative for the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG).
As a result of this, OSPIRG will be allocated the approximately $20,000 reserve that the SFC initially offered them.
“I still feel like we funded them at a level that our guidelines will allow,” Earll said. “I personally agree with the work OSPIRG does.”