Student senate elections darkened by controversy

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MAC WALBY, News Editor

With allegations of serious election violations and a computer glitch losing 14 votes, the Associated Student Government elections were mired in controversy.

“There are definitely some election rules and procedures that really need to be looked into,” said current Student Trustee Nicholas Steil.

This is everything we know about the problem so far. Out of the 45 students whose votes were initially not counted, all but 14 were able to resubmit their original votes.

After facing technical problems with the City College pipeline system, the senate decided to do a final count with all of the votes available.

Following the frustration of students who ran for office having to be delayed, the disappointment didn’t end for some when the results were finally announced.

After losing the race for President by only six votes, Steil described the situation as “very frustrating and difficult.”

“Those 14 votes could have potentially made me president,” Steil said.

According to Allison Canning, dean of student services, admissions and records, the election results were made public during the senate meeting on April 10.

However, the election results still had not been provided to the public on either the student government or the college’s website until Monday, April 20, ten days after the results had been announced.

When asked where students could go to find the results, current Senate President Colette Brown said, “it’s the job of anyone interested to go to the meetings or refer to the minutes…I think that’s appropriate.”

Though they were put up today, as of 6 p.m. Brown was unaware they even posted the results online.

Canning had new senator Trevor Leung answer questions about the problems with the election instead of responding directly to most inquiries.

“I’m just as confused as you are,” Leung said. “I don’t know everything about the minutes.”

According to Student Senate Co-Advisor Amy Collins, “minutes are not posted until the [senate] approves them.”

All members are supposed to have read the minutes before coming to the meeting for approval, but there are no public copies of the minutes until being approved by the senate the following week. The Brown Act states minutes “shall be posted for a minimum of 10 days in a public place as soon after the meeting as possible.”

As well as the problems with minutes and results being posted, Steil was concerned that all of the election rules were violated. After reporting the issue to administration and the advisors, he feels the allegations were brushed off.

All members running for office receive a packet titled “Associated Student Government Rules of Election” that clearly outline where all materials may be placed.

According to Steil, a member of the senate running for president received permission from the Office of Student Life to post additional campaign materials in unauthorized spots on campus. Eight additional posters were hung up on kiosks on both sides of campus, when the rules clearly state they can only be hung on the railings around the Physical Science Building, the Earth and Biological Sciences Building, and Interdisciplinary Center.

“To me this is a blatant violation of the rules,” Steil said. He feels this showed a clear bias on the part of the Office of Student Life as well.

“I have no response,” Canning said when asked about the violations. “It was the election committee’s determination that there were not violations of the elections rules.”

After asking about the situation, Steil was then allowed to do the same thing and posted his own materials around campus in response.

As well as materials being posted in the wrong place, campaign materials that had to be removed the day after the elections were still hanging around campus as of Friday, April 17.

The election issues along with the violations and mass resignations of senators last semester has led to some uneasy feelings between the senate.

“There are a number of issues we haven’t gotten answers to,” Steil said.

Because of the perceived problems, Steil has plans on starting a club to focus on the senate transparency. “The Student Senate Accountability Club” is only in the planning stages, but Steil says he absolutely sees the need for oversight.

“I’m just trying to perform my job and hold us accountable,” Steil said.

The election results are as follows:

 

-Contributor Channels Staff writer Jessica Macias