SGA election results ratified

By Brian Bevilacqua

Elections Commisoner Rocco Giordano explained to the Senate why the Commission invalidated the DMC ticket. (Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)
Elections Commisoner Rocco Giordano explained to the Senate why the Commission invalidated the DMC ticket.
(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

At Monday night’s meeting, the Student Government Association ratified this year’s election results, amended the Residential Hall Association Constitution to allow officials charged with a transgression to appeal and discussed issues relating student safety and support as they looked to the future.

This year’s SGA presidential elections were plagued with problems, as admitted by Elections Commissioner Rocco Giordano. Giordano pointed to the fact that there were 13 formal complaints about campaigns to the Elections Commission and more than 50 informal complaints. The problems continued to the end of the election when the technically victorious DMC ticket was ruled invalid and the second place Vinayak Rao and Jacob Schissel ticket was declared the winner.

Before reviewing the election results, SGA Speaker Sïonan Barrett addressed the pros and cons of ratifying election results that have been contested after multiple tickets were removed from the ballot for improper behavior. Barrett made clear that vetoing the results would begin a new election as opposed to allowing for further proceedings.

Senators questioned Giordano and the results of the election report for almost an hour before ratifying the election results in a 41-0 vote, with 3 abstentions. With this vote, the election cycle ends. There is a pending appeal of the election results to the SGA Judiciary by Ellie Miske, Gabrielle Cooke and Emily Devenney, members of the invalidated DMC ticket.

If they had failed to ratify because of the controversy and concern, there would have been a new election.

Giordano explained that although the DMC ticket received the most votes in the election, there were five complaints against them while the winning Rao/Schissel ticket had none. There were also assurances from Giordano that the decision was not made with bias against any candidate or cause.

The fate of the DMC ticket will now be decided by a judiciary committee which will either uphold the results and affirm the Rao/Schissel ticket as winners, or will rule the SGA decision invalid and declare DMC the democratically elected victors.

SGA also approved changes to RHA rules allowing for a retroactive appeals process on behalf of former official Elysia Eastty, opening the door for her to reenter to her former position upon appeal.

Before the meeting was called to session, two officers from UMass Police Department led a presentation about how to handle an active shooter on campus. The presentation compared the likelihood of a shooter on campus to getting struck by lightning, but nevertheless encouraged SGA to pass their safety message on to students. The officer’s presentation stressed a quick and calm reaction to the sound of gun shots by quickly evacuating or hiding, instead of panic.

Officer Mark Wellhan said a shooting incident on campus was “not a matter of if, but when.”

In regards to the aftermath of the “Blarney Blowout,” President Zac Broughton promised the senators Monday that the SGA would have the opportunity to speak to Ed Davis about the controversial police responses to student gatherings and his upcoming evaluation.

Patrick Hoff contributed to this report.

Brian Bevilacqua can be reached at [email protected]