SGA candidate violates election bylaws

Official complaints have been lodged against Drew Rausa, current senator at-Large of the Student Government Association (SGA), for violating bylaws governing the SGA election process sometime after April 11. He ran against Michael Strom, vice president of Legal and Governmental Affairs, for the position of alternate student trustee.

In the April 11 issue of The Signal, Rausa ran a half page advertisement on page 4. The advertisement read: “VOTE RAUSA, Alternate Student Trustee.”

Jenna Klubnick, current alternate student trustee, directed The Signal to SGA’s election bylaws. Rausa violated these bylaws, which say that “candidates may utilize The Signal, the student newspaper, for campaigning purposes. However, privately funded advertisements may not be used to promote a candidate or group of candidates.”

Klubnick could not say what penalty, if any, Rausa was given.

Rausa could not be reached for comment as of press time.

According to Klubnick, “people have filed complaints against the candidate with the election committee.” The committee does not look for violations.

The bylaws forbid a candidate from selling anything; all campaigning must be funded at the candidate’s expense.

Previously, a candidate was penalized for selling T-shirts to campaign. The shirts were being sold through the Residence Life staff. Additionally, the candidate was campaigning prior to the designated campaign week. These violations resulted in the subtraction of 250 votes from the candidate’s total.

The election bylaws say the current alternate student trustee, in addition to “two impartial, graduating senior members of the SGA chosen by the alternate student trustee,” will be charged with administering the election and fielding any official complaints.

The alternate student trustee is then responsible for chairing a hearing involving the two selected members of SGA, the individual who filed the complaint and the candidate in question. All parties present are required to sign a confidentiality contract. Both the issuer of the complaint and the candidate reserve the right to “challenge a member of the committee if he or she feels that an individual sits (on the hearing) with a bias.” Both parties present their arguments, including witnesses and evidence, then make closing statements. The hearing then moves into closed session for deliberation. The two SGA members and the alternate student trustee must then determine “responsibility for the violation,” as well as the appropriate penalties.

The extent of the punitive measures is open-ended. The bylaws say that “the committee may then impose any of the following penalties, or others, on the responsible party: issue a warning with specific consequences for further violations, restrict campaigning privileges or disqualify the candidate.”