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Court overturns disqualifications for five SG senators

The Student Government Supreme Court overturned the disqualifications of five candidates for SG Senate after a series of trials Friday evening.

All five had won their Senate seats but failed to turn in their financial reports on time. This resulted in their automatic disqualification.

The court overturned the decisions after finding that the punishments for turning in a form late were “too severe,” said Sean Norris, the chief justice of the court.

“In each case, there were enough extenuating circumstances to overturn a disqualification,” Norris said.

One of the candidates on trial was Zebulon Loewenstein, who won the second seat for Mahoney Pearson Residential College. He initially did not plan on submitting a form because he had not spent money on his campaign.

“I knew that I was going to have a zero-dollar budget for campaigning because I don’t believe in having to spend money to advocate my views and opinions,” Loewenstein said.

But when he received a reminder email at 9:55 a.m. to turn in his financial form, Loewenstein ran out of his organic chemistry class to turn in the hard copy of the form. He eventually submitted it ten minutes after the 10 a.m. deadline.

“It wasn’t a requirement for them to send an email notification. It was a courtesy,” he said. “But the courtesy didn’t give us enough time.”

At his trial Loewenstein successfully argued he was “cognizant of deadlines and time constraints,” and that his disqualification was an instance of “using the letter of the law to defeat the spirit.”

Brianna Hathaway, who won the second seat for the freshman class, had two exams the day the financial forms were due.

“I wasn’t able to check my email for the reminder,” she said.

Still, Hathaway believes that the violation was fair because it is part of the SG Elections Code but does feel that the deadline should be later in the day.

Monica Gerstner, who won the second seat for the senior class, did not comment on the specifics of her disqualification but is glad that the court ruled in her favor.

“It is important that the court ruled in favor of the student’s voice and the democratic process was not affected,” she said. “Their votes are being respected.”

September 30, 2012

Reporters

Alysha Khan

Online Editor


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