The College senator-elects announced, USGT executive race still pending

After a runoff, ASASU announced four senators for The College and said a pending Supreme Court case delayed executive results

The Associated Students for ASU announced Alexia Isais, Bridget Saidu, Daiva Scovil and Daniel Lopez will represent The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Undergraduate Student Government Tempe Senate next academic year. 

During the announcement over Zoom, Tempe's Assistant Elections Commissioner Amanda Andalis said results of the executive runoff could not be announced due to an open case in the ASASU Supreme Court against one of the tickets.

The contents of the case were not discussed and all documents filed within the court are confidential until a decision can be made, Andalis said, citing elections code and rules of the court.

Andalis did not say when the decision would be made.

A statement from the Fees executive ticket said they were notified of the complaint against their campaign Tuesday night around 8:30 p.m. and were told at 10:30 a.m., right before the results of the race were expected, that they would be delayed again.

"We stand by our testament that we have not committed any elections code violation and have faith that the elections department will honor that," the statement says. 

Executive tickets, political club leaders and senator-elects seem to be in agreement that this year's election has been extremely drawn-out, mishandled and disappointing.

In the statement, the Fees ticket emphasized their campaign message to supporters and said the lack of transparency with the entire student body has been "shocking."

Campaigning for seats in USG was first rescheduled due to COVID-19. When results were announced, ASASU Elections Commissioner Carla Naranjo said executive tickets would go into a runoff with senatorial candidates from Barrett, The Honors College, The College and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering due to a misappropriation of seats. 

A Supreme Court decision, however, sided with students and said only The College would appear on the ballot alongside the Palmer and Fees executive tickets. 

In addition, the student who originally won the sole seat for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College had previously switched his major, tried to drop out of the race and did not campaign. His competitor became the senator-elect after hours of confusion once results were announced.

The court has dismissed two appeals filed against members of the United Voices for ASU coalition. Isais, Saidu and Lopez, as well as Teachers College senator-elect Yamilet Ibanez are all part of the coalition.

The first, Waxelbaum v. Isais, said social media content posted by Isais violated elections code as it was threatening toward ASU students. A similar case was brought to the Elections Department before the runoff and gave every member of the United Voices for ASU coalition three infraction points.

The Elections Department said they would dismiss this case, citing freedom of speech provided by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, making the same argument. 

Their opinion says, "It is not the Court's duty to decide if the (Arizona Board of Regents') Code of Conduct has been broken, but rather to provide infraction points when it has been made clear to the Court that such a violation has occurred."

Their opinion refers the case and others like it to the dean of students.

"The decision is absurd," said Judah Waxelbaum, plaintiff in the case, chairman of the Arizona Federation of College Republicans and a junior studying political science. 

He explained how he was upset with the elections process as a whole, claiming there had been "no consistency" in decisions made by the court.

"I'm not really sure what their power is if they don't uphold the ABOR Code of Conduct," Waxelbaum said. 

David Howman, plaintiff in a separate appeal, president of ASU College Libertarians and a graduate student studying justice studies, agreed with the sentiment when his case was dismissed on the same grounds.

The court dismissed ASU College Libertarians v. United Voices for ASU, which outlined what the club thought were three violations of the elections code. Before reaching the Supreme Court, the Elections Commissioner said she would not issue infraction points because "the tweets do not pose a direct threat to members of the community" and are therefore protected by University policy. 

The appeal says the posts were "verifiably false" and "defamatory," which brought injury to the club as a whole. The club said the social media post met the legal definition of defamation, which is not protected by free speech laws.

Howman explained that a post called the club anti-semitic, a "label that is false and paints the whole club in a negative light," he said.

Isais, The College senator-elect, sophomore studying political science and member of the coalition, said both complaints were "plainly political and pathetic." 

She said the three groups have "sabotaged effective campaigning by overuse of complaints" and called their efforts "an act against the student body."

"We're happy we were able to dodge attacks, and we're grateful for the support," Isais said on behalf of United Voices candidates who successfully earned a senate seat. "The fight has just begun."

While the court said the case against the coalition as a whole was dismissed, they advised the dean of students investigate the group's conduct as seven complaints were filed against them and two made it before the Supreme Court. 

"We just hope the future of student government sticks to their jurisdiction of student impact," Howman said.

Editor's Note: Alexia Isais is a former opinion columnist for The State Press and had no involvement in the writing or editing of this article. 


Reach the reporters at pjhanse1@asu.edu and follow @piperjhansen on Twitter. 

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