An additional grievance filed by Emily Pfeiffer and Ricardo Lujan-Valerio against the Election Committee’s ruling on Monday night which eliminated 41 votes for Colin Davis and Tyler Takeshita, was invalidated by the Associate Students of Southern Oregon University Judicial Branch on Thursday. An in depth discussion on the proper interpretation of the student government’s bylaws followed, resulting in another motion to grant Davis the presidency under probationary measures which would be determined at a later date. The measure passed two to zero.
“Even though the process was grueling I feel like the ruling was fair,” said Davis who garnered enough student support to force the relocation of the meeting from the SOURS conference room to the Senate Chambers.
This was the second grievance filed by Pfeiffer and Valerio attesting to the election rules, they felt were blatantly broken by Davis and Takeshita. Valerio pushed for a decision to be made that did not involve silencing students in the form of invalidating votes. “The ruling was a disservice to all candidates including Colin,” he stated at the start of the meeting. “Either he’s disqualified or he’s not. And if he’s not then what’s going to happen?”
The grievance referenced a Judicial rule which grants the branch power to “disqualify a candidate who broke rules in a way that irrevocably altered the outcome of the election.” A true interpretation of this rule did not come easily to Judicial members as there was argument over what defines “outcome”, and whether or not Colin’s actions were irrevocable. Similar to the meeting which took place on Monday night, the five hour discussion seemed to go in circles, returning regularly to the notion that Davis’s violation of campaign rules were not quantifiable in regards to its effect on the election results. The final ruling which granted Davis the presidency under probation was deemed fit by Judicial members due to the precedent it would set for future candidates.
The nine hours of discussion over the course of two days was interpreted by some as the result of flawed bylaws. “There is a problem with these rules that put people in these very difficult situations with somewhat impossible right outcomes,” said Julia Heinlein who ran with Heather Buchanan against Davis and Takeshita in the presidential campaign.
“I think the elections bylaws definitely need to be audited,” said Brandon Zarringhalam, Associate Justice of the Judicial Branch. Zarringhalam along with Associate Justice Eileen O’Keefe and Chief Justice Jacob Rubanowitz expressed their frustration with the lack of clarity the rules presented.
Those involved in this process hope that it will stand as a learning experience for future elections.