Massachusetts Daily Collegian

SGA ratifies election report, Sullivan will serve second term

Senators debated several new campaign violations

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SGA ratifies election report, Sullivan will serve second term

By Leticia Medeiros, Collegian Correspondent

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The Student Government Association at the University of Massachusetts passed a motion to ratify the results of the 2019 Spring Elections on Monday, March 18.

On March 4, the senators voted to table the motion to give the Elections Commission time to review additional evidence of campaign violations. A new reviewed report included 22 new campaign violations from several candidates, though none were considered severe enough to disqualify any candidates.

Three of the new campaign violations were allegedly committed by presidential candidate Timmy Sullivan and his running mate Hayden Latimer-Ireland. The commission ruled as if the elections were still ongoing and determined the Sullivan/Latimer-Ireland ticket would have received a three-hour suspension per violation. Including previous suspensions issued to the ticket, the Sullivan/Latimer-Ireland ticket would have been suspended for 39 hours out of the 72-hour election cycle had all the violations been filed during the election period.

Prior to the ratification of the report, presidential candidate Allie McCandless and vice presidential candidate Moksha Padmaraju filed appeals with the SGA judiciary on the decisions made by the Elections Commission regarding certain campaign violations. Following Monday night’s meeting, McCandless called the election “illegitimate” and referenced “illegal tactics and an avalanche of misconduct.”

“This election will forever be a stain on the reputation of the SGA, which is already held in incredibly low regard by students due to its inadequate leadership,” McCandless added.

During the meeting, senators were clearly divided on whether or not to ratify the new report. In the debate over ratification, senator Aron Unger pointed out that all the campaign workers for the McCandless/Padmaraju ticket were urging senators to not ratify the new elections report, while Sullivan/Latimer-Ireland campaign workers asked senators to ratify the report.

In the end, the motion to ratify the elections report passed by a two-vote margin. The passing of the motion caused Unger to resign from his position.

“I resigned the moment the Senate voted to ratify the 2019 SGA election. This election exposed large flaws in our election system,” Unger said in a Facebook post. “Our system had a safeguard to prevent this election from going through. The Senate could reject the ratification of the election, and move to recast the ballots. The Senate failed their duty tonight.”

Chad Cordani, a political science sophomore, also showed disappointment in the SGA, but for a different reason than the election.

“I’d like to actively express my dissent to the Student Government Association and their denial of Mr. Richard Cullen as a senator for the Student Government Association,” he said, opening the Student Government Association meeting announcements.

“Universities were created to promote freedom of thought and the denial of Mr. Cullen from the SGA undermines everything that Universities and liberalism in a true sense represent,” said Cordani. SGA Speaker Ryan Mahan said he could not comment on why the body denied Cullen, a political science sophomore, a seat as senator.

Two other students expressed regret that the SGA denied Cullen a seat as senator during the meeting, citing that they believed he was denied a seat due to his “Republican ideals.” Cullen also wrote a letter to the editor of the Collegian talking about his confirmation hearing.

To finalize the meeting, senators passed a motion to “recognize a professor for exceptional use of free and open materials in their courses,” to encourage other faculty members to do the same.

Leticia Medeiros can be reached at [email protected]

2 Comments

2 Responses to “SGA ratifies election report, Sullivan will serve second term”

  1. Dr. Ed on March 20th, 2019 2:52 pm

    With a student body so (legitimately) concerned about Constitutional rights, I fail to understand why the SGA’s own violations of student Constitutional rights are so nonchalantly ignored.
    .
    “Campaigning” is speech and no one exercising the power of a state university (which the SGA does) can restrict the content of student speech — the UMPD can’t do it and the SGA can’t do it, for the very same reason. The First Amendment to the US Constitution, as incorporated by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution — and a whole bunch of rulings by the US Supreme Court.
    .
    The SGA can’t require approval of campaign materials — it’s called “prior restraint censorship” and is big-time UnConstitutional on that alone, along with for a whole bunch of other reasons. Imagine, if you would, if the UMPD required Black Lives Matter to get prior approval of all of BLM’s materials before they were distributed — yea, there’d be issues…
    .
    And the SGA can’t tell candidates not to campaign (i.e. speak) — not for four hours, four minutes, or four nanoseconds. Again, imagine the UMPD ordering BLM to do the same thing — again, there’d be issues if they ever tried…
    .
    The only time anyone operating “under color of law” — be it the UMPD or SGA — can restrict or punish speech is in a content neutral manner and as to “time, place, or manner” — again, in a content-neutral manner. For example, you can’t scream out the window at 3AM — you can’t scream anything out a window at 3AM, the offense is the noise and not the words. Likewise, you can’t write stuff on walls with spray paint — it’s the spray paint and not the content of what you write.
    .
    Anything else, any other restriction on (or punishment for) speech is a “violation of civil rights under color of law” and there’s a lovely Federal law, 46 USC 1983, that permits you to sue people who do this. (“Section 1983” is the same law that racist police officers are often sued under — for big bucks…)
    .
    The SGA exercises powers granted to it under Massachusetts law and it can’t do these things because of that. Cullen has a slam-dunk lawsuit against UMass because of the SGA’s actions, as do all of the candidates whose First Amendment rights were violated — and I’ll tell you what the Trustees will do when someone eventually sues them because of the SGA. They’ll shut it down just like they did SLSO’s litigation rights after they lost the lawsuit to Yvonne Henry.

  2. David on March 21st, 2019 12:17 am

    Little fascists. Making other political parties illegal.
    Gee, who else did that?

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