Academic senator wins election appeal

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The current academic senator for the College of Science and Mathematics, Alamzeb Khan, won his appeal of the Student Government Association’s decision to disqualify him from next year’s campaign during Monday’s senate meeting in Bunce Hall’s Tohill Theater.

An ad hoc commission of executive board members was created in the place of the currently vacated elections commissioner position, and this commission determined that Khan had violated one of the policies, under sanctions, in the SGA bylaws. This particular bylaw states that one cannot use university resources to campaign for an SGA position. The decision to disqualify Khan from the election of next year’s academic senator for the College of Science and Mathematics was overruled by a senate vote and Khan will be placed back on the ballot for next year’s election.

Being a member of the Academic Affairs Committee, Khan was tabling an Academic Fair in the Chamberlain Student Center’s pit and was representing the College of Sciences and Mathematics. At the bottom of one of the flyers there was a note that read, “Don’t forget to vote for Alamzeb Khan in the upcoming elections.” This was not stamped or approved by SGA.

SGA Chief Financial Officer, Alexcia Mazahreh likened Khan’s actions as serving one function, but running for another.

“If a student info desk worker is running for a position and someone comes up and asks if someone could check my card because it is not working and they have something advertising and campaigning on the table, that wouldn’t be appropriate or ethical, either,” Mazahreh said.

SGA’s election policies about campaigning for positions are very thorough and rigid, even candidates are cautioned not to tell people in on-campus eating areas that they are campaigning for an SGA position, said Mazahreh.

Khan chose to appeal his disqualification and addressed the senate. Khan believed that the elections commission was too hasty in their decision to disqualify him. Khan also cited that the bylaws were unclear in explaining what the grounds for disqualifying a candidate are, in the event of violating this policy.

“The policy states that you cannot use university resources to campaign, but that is all that is stated,” Khan said. “The rest of the rules are relatively clear cut, but this one is not.”

Khan said that he would have gladly accepted the minor infraction of not having a flyer stamped and approved by SGA, but was resolute about not accepting the disqualification.

“The negligence in this case was quite telltale, and I’m not a man to stand down to anyone especially when I am not guilty; I had the facts laid out in my appeal speech, albeit I may have been a bit harsh on the e-board,” said Khan. “But they must understand that with such power comes responsibility as they are well aware; much deliberation should be put into decisions like disqualifying a candidate that actually cares and works hard for his fellow students in my opinion.”

Khan will be included on the ballot for next year’s election for academic senator of the College of Science and Mathematics and believes that the senate’s appeal process served him well.

“Students have to realize they have quite a bit of power no matter whether they are SGA president or just a student attending a senate meeting, the Democratic process was made for the people, and us, students have as many rights as any other citizen,” Khan said.

In addition to the resolution which was settled regarding Khan, SGA discussed several other matters of business.

At the next meeting on April 11, Executive Vice President Tobey Oxholm will be in attendance to speak at length about a sharp spike in the costs of care for the Wellness Center. Over the last three years, the Wellness Center’s health care expenses have increased by over $400,000, particularly in behavioral health. Oxholm will outline the various options, concerning whether or not there is a need to change the source of funding.

Several positions were filled as the Senate elected:

  • Freshman, political science major Rbrey Singleton as Alternate Student Trustee
  • Junior, political science major Emily MacGrath as the 2017 Class Senator
  • Sophomore, public relations major Julia Masse as 2018 Class Senator

The next SGA senate meeting will take place on Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Chamberlain Student Center’s Eynon Ballroom.

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