The student body will be re-voting for both Senators-at-Large that were elected in this year’s spring 2015 cycle.
On April 10, the Honor Court found that Kyle Chong had violated the sanctions levied against him by the Elections Committee but should not have been disqualified from the ASUPS Spring 2015 Elections.
Initial charges of corruption were brought up against former senator Kyle Chong in February by Greg Reeser. While he was not found completely guilty by the ASUPS Senate Elections Committee, the committee had Chong’s name taken off the general elections ballot and he was prohibited from any on-campus campaigning. In response to these allegations, Chong posted an article in the Wetlands Magazine blog titled, “My Appeal for Justice,” which can be found on the Wetlands Magazine website.
“I fully apologize for any and all confusions made in statements by members of the campus community against me, and I take full responsibility for putting myself in a situation that might cause one to come to the conclusions they have. I also assume full responsibility for any confusion caused by my own statements on social media for which I tried to promptly apologize for as a mere misreading of the elections sanctions against me. The fact is that I was barred from on-campus publicity for my Senator At Large campaign and my name removed from the ballot as a result of sanctions from the ASUPS Senate Committee on Elections. While I regret that, I own it,” Chong said in his article.
In the events following, Chong was disqualified from the spring election cycle because Chong’s article was deemed on-campus publicity by the Elections Committee. According to this decision, even though Chong received more votes than his opponents, Beatrix Evans and Gwendolyn Bartholomay would hold the position for the two Senators-at-Large.
“We were under the impression that the next step would be disqualifying him,” senator and elections committeee member Andrew Mcpherran said.
Kyle Chong appealed the election committee’s decision because he believed it was an unfair and illegitimate reason to disqualify him. The trial took place on April 7 and was closed to all media and technology.
“I won the election by a clear margin and they are silencing about 70 to 75 percent voters in this race. So I appealed their decision and took them to honor court,” Chong said.
On April 13, Chong won his appeal and it was determined that Chong should not have been disqualified from the senate race.
According to senate chair Kaitlyn Vallance, honor court determined that the ASUPS 2015 elections packet was too vague in its definition of on-campus publicity and that the ASUPS elections committee needs to provide a positive definition of on-campus publicity.
“If the Elections Committee has any interest in being able to conduct fair elections they will radically revise this packet. But as you will see in the honor court letter, they don’t have to. They are by no means compelled to. However, I think ultimately going forward, I have every confidence in this new elections committee. I think they are going to do really well and be really fair because they have thought a lot about this. They have been chosen specifically,” Chong said.
As the Honor Court ruled in favor of Chong, ASUPS senate determined on April 16 that the current Senators-at-Large will both lose their seats.
This will then yield a special election for both of the Senators-at-Large. It is still unclear when this election will be held. While the current Senators-at-Large are Bartholomay and Evans, their positions are now up for re-election and this position is open to the entire student body.