Candidate controversy

Only days before the Student Government Association (SGA) elections, questions still remained about who would be on the ballot.

Eric Pasternack, running for executive president, could be forced to step down from the position if elected.

Steve Viola, running for vice president of administration and finance, has been removed from the SGA elections ballot as of press time and did not make a speech at the SGA election speeches Monday night.

Pasternack, who is under 21, is facing the possibility of being put on probation after Campus Police caught him drinking at a party, according to an SGA member who wished to remain anonymous.

According to S. Lee Whitesell, Pasternack’s opponent for executive president of SGA, the party took place on March 31.

The SGA member said that Pasternack had been caught drinking while at a party in the townhouses on campus and believes that someone called Campus Police and told them about the party. The SGA member said that he is suspicious that this person may have been a member of “Real Leadership,” the group running against Pasternack’s “People Over Politics” group in the SGA elections.

Whitesell said that no one from his group, “Real Leadership,” called the cops to report Pasternack.

In response to rumors that have spread since the incident, Whitesell said he “know(s) that (Pasternack) is insinuating (rumors).”

Whitesell believes that Pasternack and others in his party immediately assumed Whitesell was the one that called police.

Duane Clark, junior history major and member of “Real Leadership,” was upset by the rumors. He called them “completely false,” “offensive” and “slanderous.”

Whitesell also said that “People Over Politics” has filed numerous complaints against him and “Real Leadership.”

One of these complaints involved a group that “Real Leadership” made. According to Whitesell, members of “People Over Politics” complained because the group was created before SGA candidates were permitted to start campaigning.

Whitesell said, however, that the Facebook group was not a means of campaigning and did not contain information about candidates.

Clark was particularly upset because he claimed that “People Over Politics” and “Real Leadership” had agreed to run a “clean campaign.”

Pasternack was not restricted from running in the SGA elections due to the violation. However, he may be put on probation at a later date if he fails his appeal.

In such a case, if Pasternack was elected SGA executive president, he would have to step down from the position and the executive vice president would take over.

In response to a question about the incident, Pasternack said at the SGA elections speeches, whose audience was primarily SGA members, that “we are all fallible” and that people can “grow and learn from their mistakes.”

Viola, who had been on probation for underage drinking at a sorority party in Pa., had been reported by a community advisor (CA) because of a decorative wine bottle, his second violation, according to a member of the SGA.

The SGA member said that the wine bottle had never contained alcohol and was painted for decorative purposes.

The “minor transgression,” as Viola called it, disqualified him as a candidate according to the College’s student leadership criteria.

The criteria, which applies to all student leaders, says that student leaders must “be free of probation with restrictions in residence, college-wide disciplinary probation, or higher-level disciplinary sanctions.”

Viola appealed the decision but, according to an SGA member, the office of Campus Activities didn’t grant the appeal.

As of press time, Viola was waiting for a new appeal to be judged and was not included on the SGA elections ballot.

Because Viola is running unopposed, if his appeal is denied his position will remain open.

Viola said that in such an instance he would try to run as a write-in candidate.

However, according to Daria Silvestro, SGA alternate student trustee, Viola cannot run as a write-in candidate.

The anonymous SGA member said Pasternack, if elected, would appoint Viola to fill the position of vice president of administration and finance when Viola’s probation ends in September.

However, the SGA member said that if Whitesell is elected, all eligible students will be able to run for the position.