Confusion surrounds S.A. election candidates

In a week full of speculation about Student Association presidential candidate Michael Johnson’s campaign status, he has announced that he is staying in the race.

"I am definitely still in the race," Johnson said. "I’m here for the students."

Last Friday, Johnson posted a message on his Facebook page that said he was conceding the race to focus on academics and his role as president of Rainbow Alliance.

"I did ‘officially’ announce it, but I never officially announced it to the elections committee. Therefore, if it’s posted on Facebook or wherever it’s posted, it’s not official," Johnson said.

According to Scott Silver, S.A. Supreme Court chief justice, Johnson’s concession is not official because he did not inform the elections committee of his decision. Currently, there is nothing in the S.A. constitution or codebook that states the official process of conceding an election.

"The only person who can change the slate, meaning the official election, is the chair of the elections committee or the committee themselves and that did not happen," Silver said.

Before taking office, candidates for president and vice president are required to sign a waiver form that would release their GPA to the election committee chairperson and the Supreme Court Chief Justice.
"The waiver was written up last Thursday and handed to each candidate," Silver said. "Two candidates signed it, one did not. In which case there became lots of rumor mongering."

Johnson did not sign the waiver, but will not disclose the reasons why he refused. He currently has no plans to sign it.

"I am prepared to sign it should I be allowed to take the oath of office," Johnson said.

DiMarzo does not agree with Johnson’s decision to not sign the waiver.
"I feel he’s lost all credibility with this. To concede then say you’re going to run again because there’s nothing saying he can’t do that," DiMarzo said. "Also, I’m willing to say that the fact that he is withholding signing his waiver is making me very uncomfortable."

The S.A. constitution has a provision written in it about the appropriate GPA for it’s elected officers.

"As per the constitution of the student association it is required that both the president and vice president have a certain GPA, the minimum being a 2.2," Silver said. "The constitution clearly states that it’s .2 over what the college calls good standing."

For Johnson and DiMarzo who are both considered seniors by their credit hours, it means they must have a 2.2 minimum to be president. However, the GPA requirement does not prevent someone who does not meet the minimum from running for office.

There are currently circumstances that would prevent Johnson from taking office.

"At initial review of the constitution there is a provision in the constitution that would prevent me from office; not so much running for candidate, but being able to be elected, but would prevent from fulfilling inaugeration day," Johnson said. "After further review of the constitution, after further study of it, there are a few loopholes that I found and not only loopholes, but I’ve also found where I believe a part of the constitution is discriminatory."

As a result, Johnson filed a grievance on Tuesday with the S.A. Supreme Court. He cites Article 7 of the S.A. Constitution as discriminatory because it "limits a student, specifically my ability, to take office," Johnson said.

Silver said in an e-mail that Johnson’s grievance filed "has challenged the validity of the grade point average requirement stipulated in the S.A. constitution."

On Monday, DiMarzo had filed a complaint with the elections committee over an e-mail that S.A. Vice President Stefen Short had sent to club presidents. DiMarzo said the e-mail violated a clause in election code that prevents students and organizations from posting publicity for an S.A. candidate. The election committee found no violation and dismissed the complaint.

"I’m going to just go along with my campaign, do what I need to do and let everything else just happen on the side," DiMarzo said
Short believes that the current internal situation makes S.A. look bad. He said it takes away from S.A. fulfilling the needs of the students.

"We spend so much time in S.A. fighting with each other that we don’t fight for the students," Short said. "If 75 percent of your time is monopolized fighting against each other you’re not going to have time to change any policy or to lobby for any end. It’s just not going to happen."