Supreme Court overturns committee grievance rulings

3-20 WSUSA
(Source: WSUSA)

Three student government candidates will lose seven votes apiece in races being counted today after a week of grievances filed, appealed and ruled upon in the executive elections.

Grievances had been filed against WSU Student Association presidential candidate Cash Knight and vice presidential candidates Gregory Woodfield and Kyle Froerer for their campaign materials that were distributed under doors in Wasatch Hall in violation of WSU housing policies. A second grievance was filed against the three for placing stacks of cards in the residents hall cafeteria against WSUSA election rules.

The Election Committee initially found the first grievance was not a violation. The committee ruled the second grievance a violation, but it opted not to penalize candidates but instead “educate on the process of unusual campaign requests.”

The WSUSA Supreme Court overturned those decisions and docked all three candidates 24 votes for each violation, a decision it stayed until the Election Committee could reconsider its initial ruling.

The Election Committee came back with a revised ruling Thursday evening hours after voting ended that docks Cash, Woodfield and Froerer seven votes each for the first violation, basing the decision on 15 percent of the 50 people who live on the floor where the cards were slipped under the door. Last year 1,300 students, about one-half of 1 percent of the student body, voted in the WSUSA elections.

Additionally, two more grievances were filed against Knight’s opponent Tessa Diamond, alleging campaign rule violations and spending limit violations. A campaign rule violation grievance was filed against vice presidential candidate Marissa Questereit.

The campaign rule violations against Diamond and Questereit alleged the two left stacks of campaign cards on center tables in the Student Services Building.

The Election Committee noted that both that incident and the complaint against Cash, Woodfield and Froerer leaving campaign cards on tables in the Wasatch Hall cafeteria violated campaign rules, but decided not to punish any of the candidates. The committee noted that WSU posting guidelines that created confusion.

Those guidelines state, “These regulations will not apply to material posted or distributed by authorized office of the university in connection with official university business, activities and events when such material is authorized.”

The committee noted that the candidates had permission from university officials for leaving the materials, but added that the candidates should also have sought permission from the Election Committee.

By 7 p.m. the committee had not posted a decision on the grievance against Diamond alleging spending limit violations.

Had the 48-vote penalty remained against Cash, Woodfield and Froerer, it could have meant a loss of 3.5 percent of the vote, assuming a similar number of students who voted last year will cast their votes this year.