Student Association presidential candidate Michael Johnson withdrew his grievance from the S.A. Supreme Court last week that claimed the S.A. Constitution unfairly mandates a GPA requirement for the position.
Johnson originally filed a grievance against Article Seven of the S.A.
Constitution, which states S.A. presidential candidates must have a GPA .2 points above the college minimum for good academic standing. That minimum for students with junior standing is a 2.0. Despite dropping the grievance, Johnson said he believes the requirement to be discriminatory.
Johnson has refused to disclose his GPA to the public and has declined requests by the S.A. Elections Committee to sign a GPA disclosure waiver on the matter.
S.A. Vice President Stefen Short said that the constitution requires all candidates to sign the waiver before they take office. Therefore, Johnson is only required to sign the waiver by March 31. Nonetheless, the elections committee contacted Johnson by e-mail Wednesday, encouraging him to sign the waiver.
"A day after I dropped the suit, the elections committee comes and says that they’re requiring me somehow to hand over the grade waiver signed by Friday (March 5) or else I will be taken off the ballot," Johnson said. "At this time I still have no plans to sign the waiver."
"[The] Elections committee encouraged Mr. Johnson to turn in the waiver before the end of the week, but they can’t force him to do it," Short said.
Johnson said he believes that should he win the election, S.A. will have a difficult time removing a president voted in by a majority.
Johnson said he will refile his grievance if he wins the election.
"The Student Association Constitution bylaws and codes agree that any student organization who discriminates on the basis of race, gender, GPA… you are not allowed to get funding," Johnson said.
The S.A. constitution does not explicitly state GPA as a point of potential discrimination despite Johnson’s claims.
Article 19 of the constitution states, "Funding decisions will be view- point neutral and shall not be discriminatory based on race, religion, creed, gender philosophy."
One of the reasons Johnson withdrew his case was because of the person chosen to represent S.A. in the case. Any time a case is brought against the S.A. Constitution, it becomes the responsibility of the president to represent S.A.
Christine Ballesteros, S.A. president, chose to ask S.A.-employed attorney at law James Eby to act for S.A. because she did not feel comfortable with the student representation that available to her. The students who wished to work as her lawyers had previously proposed impeachment charges against her, Ballesteros said.
Ballesteros also chose to appoint Eby because of his experience with S.A. and his understanding of the association’s constitution.
"The main point was to uphold the integrity of the constitution and since James Eby has been with us for several years and is an employee of S.A." Ballesteros said. "I just wanted to make sure that I had a better understanding of the GPA requirement."
Eby has been involved with Oswego State since the 1970s.
Johnson disagreed with Ballesteros’ decision.
"I personally think it’s wrong that she had pursued using him to defend. He’s not a constitutional law attorney, he’s a civil law attorney and therefore he should not be engaged in student matters," Johnson said.
"The Supreme Court was created for students by students and therefore it should stay student orientated."
There is nothing in the constitution that would prevent Ballesteros from choosing Eby to represent the Student Assoication.
Johnson still plans to run for president and will participate in the remaining debates against fellow candidate Steven DiMarzo.
Presidential elections will be held by electronic ballot on both March 10 and 11.