Palmer ticket next to hold USGT office, ASASU Supreme Court says

After reassessment of possible First Amendment violations, the court said the initial decision had to remain unchanged

The Palmer ticket will still be the next to hold Undergraduate Student Government Tempe executive office, wrote the Associated Students of ASU Supreme Court in a reassessment decision, officially concluding the 2020 ASASU Tempe elections a little over a month after other campuses concluded theirs.

The next group of students to hold executive positions will be Jacqueline Palmer as president, Kajol Kapadia as vice president of policy and Joshua Freid as vice president of services. Other positions relating to USG public relations, internal operations, finance and several others will be appointed by these executives after they are sworn in.

"Regardless of who you voted for, (our team) wants to be a resource for every student," said Freid, a senior studying business with a focus in global politics. 

All three executives expressed they were excited to get started. The ticket had to cancel meetings with student leaders when the election decision went from final to pending at the end of April.

"We want students to be comfortable talking to us and asking us for things they need," said Palmer, a senior studying political science, business law and marketing.

The decision comes after the election was shifted online due to circumstances caused by the new coronavirus. The ticket says COVID-19 will undoubtedly have an impact on the way decisions are going to be made and funds might need to be shifted. 

Palmer said the ticket will have conversations with executives from this past year about their transition to online classes and things they would have changed. 

Kapadia, a senior studying economics, said she hopes students "have faith in the decision" because it was made by, about and for students. 

The court wrote they found no merit to possible First Amendment violations brought to their attention after 15 infraction points were given to the Fees ticket — with Max Fees for president, Jack Fuller for vice president of policy and Emma Short for vice president of services. Fees was not immediately available for comment. 

READ MORE: Palmer ticket to hold USGT office despite losing runoff election

"All campaigning individuals and tickets have entered into a mutual relationship with the Supreme Court when the Elections Code was signed," the decision says. "When a contract has been violated, it is not the fault of the contract, but of the individual or party who violated its rules."

In the decision, the court explains each violation resulting in infraction points on behalf of the Fees ticket, including proposal of injuring opponents, promotion of the election by non-campaign staff members and damage of campaign materials on social media with alleged malicious intent, is still intact after the reassessment.

READ MORE: ASASU court could overturn USGT election result again

The court wrote no violations of the 14th Amendment were committed because each ticket was given notice of the allegations, time to prepare statements and participate in an open hearing with an audience.

The Fees ticket argued student free speech rights were violated when the court said students outside of a campaign could not promote elections or interact with social media posts without permission of the court.  

The court wrote however, that the elections code, which is signed and agreed upon by all candidates actively participating in running for USG, has "specific limitations on speech when it comes to actively campaigning" that are put in place to ensure a fair process. 

"While the Elections Code may limit certain speech, at certain times, in certain areas, it does not go beyond simple limitation," the court's decision says. "The Court must apply the rules outlined in the Elections Code, and assign the appropriate punishment when such rules are broken."

In addition, the court says candidates who may find issue with infringements on the First Amendment in the code should have brought it to ASASU before agreeing to it. Only the senate has the authority to alter the code. 

Since both Palmer and Fees tickets filed complaints against each other, the court assumes "complicitness with the rules and punishment of the code."

"Both parties involved have filed complaints against other tickets in the past, therefore, both tickets have shown that they understand that consequences come with violations of a signed contract," the court wrote.

The court's assessment orders that this "case be closed indefinitely."

Whatever mode classes take in the fall, the Palmer team said they want to be in contact with the University's administration to provide a student voice outlet for decisions made about campus life. 


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

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