Concerns Raised with Special Elections

This past Tuesday there was an informal ASUPS senate meeting that discussed the state of elections and whether ASUPS was within its authority to call for them.

At the previous formal meeting on April 23, Ryan Del Rosario had raised concerns about whether the senate overstepped in some of the elections decisions they had made.

In the statement they gave to the members of ASUPS and also posted on social media, Rosario said “even if we ignore the mishandlings of the elections from fall semester, I do not understand why ASUPS Senate is holding a special election for two Senator-At-Large positions already filled by Senators Beatrix Evans and Gwen Bartholomay.”

The full text of the statement can be found on Rosario’s Facebook page.

Vice President Alissa Hartnig said it was understandable that certain complaints had arisen, especially considering many students were on the outside looking in on an election process that many feel should have been more transparent.

Kaitlyn Vallance, Senate Chair, also brought up the problem of having so many students run as write-ins, which prevented voters from seeing the qualifications of all those who were interested in running.

The issue of transparency was a sentiment echoed by Hartnig, who said that many students weren’t aware in the past election Kyle Chong was no longer allowed in the election, and voted for him without knowing that their votes would not count.

There were many other concerns raised by several senators such as Residence Hall Senator Andrew McPherran who felt that this action set a dangerous precedent as “future senators can get together if they don’t like the senators that have been elected” and take an action similar to this one that would effectively invalidate the students being elected.

Zach Stoddard, outgoing Senior Senator, responded to this concern by saying that there is also the precedent that is set that “anyone can be banned in the future” as Chong was and that this poses a greater threat to future elections.

Many representatives, including current Senior Senator C.J. Queirolo, expressed the idea that Chong had received the majority of the votes and therefore should not have been excluded. Quierolo, along with Vallance, serves on the Governance Committee (of which Vallance is Chair and Quierolo a voting member) along with Nakisha Renee Jones (ASUPS President and non-voting member of the committee) Liam Donnelly, Julia Lynn, and Conner Sabin (all three of whom are full voting Student-at-Large members of the committee appointed by President Jones).

In a statement given exclusively to The Trail for informational purposes, Quierolo said, “This report means that the Governance Committee has reviewed the circumstances surrounding the 2015 ASUPS Spring Special Election, and determined that there was no breech of either the ASUPS Constitution or the By-Laws in the decision to begin a special election.”

Quierolo further expressed how the report was in response to Rosario’s statement about how “they thought the special election was a violation of the ASUPS Constitution.”

This compelled them to action so “the Governance Committee met and discussed their allegations.” Quierolo also said that “the report will be uploaded to the ASUPS website, displayed with the rest of all ASUPS documents” while also noting that “right now the committee minutes for this meeting have not been approved but this is the report that was determined by the committee.”

Queirolo had “abstained from the vote on whether to issue this report to the Senate.”

The conversation at the informal meeting was one that concluded with ASUPS moving on to other issues of importance to the campus, but there was also an acknowledgement about further work needing to be done in regards to how ASUPS manages this problem from here forward.

Hartnig stressed the need for an “endgame” and how best to look to the future.

The handling of these elections has been something that has led to a large amount of discussion amongst students here on campus.

Ryan Del Rosario further encouraged students in their statement to take an active role in engaging with ASUPS in the coming weeks to address this problem.

“Do not let ASUPS Senate fail this campus. I would of course tell you to look up recent senate minutes and have discussions with your ASUPS Senator, but the last two weeks of minutes have not been published (last minutes published from 4/2) and the ASUPS page does not have an updated list of your current senators. What can you do? Take ‘em all to Honor Court. Go to Open Forum. Whatever you can do, you should. This is not about having a fair election to have more UPS Students feel at home on campus as candidate Kyle Chong claims—it is about not allowing ASUPS Senate to misuse their power and bully the campus.”