Scott Recuses Self on UAP Vote
Election Commission Returns Creighton/Stringfellow to BallotBy Jennifer Krishnan
ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR
Amid a storm of controversy, Undergraduate Association Election Commissioner Zhelinrentice L. Scott ’00 has officially recused herself from her authority on all issues regarding the UA Presidential/Vice Presidential election. Scott will still act as commissioner for all other elections.
In a joint statement sent to the mit-talk mailing list last night (see page 24), the UA Judicial Review Board and Scott clarified the roles of both JudBoard and the Election Commission. They also addressed the concerns raised in several e-mails sent to the same mailing list.
In particular, Scott “has agreed to yield her authority as elections commissioner, with regard to all aspects of the UAP/VP, to elections commission member [Terry A. Gaige ’04],” according to JudBoard’s statement.
Scott had sent an e-mail to mit-talk Friday in which she quoted a note she received from UA presidential candidate Sanjay K. Rao ’02 in her capacity as election commissioner. The statement issued by JudBoard last night said that Scott “admits that writing her earlier e-mail regarding Sanjay Rao ... was not in the best interest of anyone involved, given her role as the elections commissioner.”
“I’m just hoping we’ll have a fair election now,” said Rao.
UA President Peter A. Shulman ’01 said he was pleased that JudBoard had “reiterated the fact that up to and including now, no action has been taken to jeopardize the legitimacy of the elections.”
Shulman indicated that he felt Scott had done nothing wrong, saying that if Scott was involved with the vote-counting of the UAP/VP race “it would make zero difference. She has the utmost integrity.”
Raj S. Dandage ’02, who filed the initial complaint about the election process, said that he is unsure what effect Scott’s recusal will have on the election.
“I believe that the election commission acted a bit unfairly in general,” he said, adding that he did not know if the commission’s actions “had anything to do directly with [Scott].”
Dandage also said that he felt Scott was justified in responding to his grievances on mit-talk, but added that “it seemed she took [his criticism] as a personal thing. It was not intended that way.”
Creighton returned to ballot
Late last week, the UA Election Commission decided 4-1 to allow Rhett Creighton ’02 and Margaret V. Stringfellow ’03 to remain on the ballot as official candidates for UA President and Vice President.
JudBoard left the decision in the hands of the Election Commission last Wednesday when they ruled that the decision of whether to include them on the ballot was at the discretion of the commission. JudBoard decided that Creighton and Stringfellow violated the rules of the election but according to the election code, the commission could still decide to allow the team on the ballot if it was “not an undue burden.”
“The Commission has decided that an ‘undue burden’ will not be placed on it by validating this petition,” read JudBoard’s decision to allow Creighton and Stringfellow on the ballot.
Commission member Dustin P. Muniz ’03, however, felt that since “Mr. Creighton and Ms. Stringfellow failed to communicate with the commission right away their interest and the incompleteness of their petition,” they did not deserve a place on the ballot.
Questions surround complaints
Despite the latest decision, much controversy surrounds Creighton and Stringfellow’s standing as official UA Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates. Their legitimacy has been investigated by both the Assistant Dean for Student Life Programs Carol Orme-Johnson and by JudBoard, apparently on the basis of separate complaints.
On Sunday, February 25, Dandage sent JudBoard a signed complaint, expressing his concern that Creighton and Stringfellow needed an additional 100 signatures to be allowed on the ballot. Dandage asserted that the Elections Commission “chose which eligibility requirements applied on a case-by-case basis,” setting “a dangerous precedent which could conceivably plague the entire UA election process.”
JudBoard ruled Wednesday that the Election Commission should decide the matter.
Sandra C. Sandoval ’02, JudBoard Chair, said that Dandage’s complaint was the only one investigated by JudBoard.
Rao said that he spoke to Orme-Johnson about his concerns with the Election Commission, but that he never filed an official complaint.
“I was concerned that [Scott] didn’t want me on the ballot,” said Rao. He added that she had made several comments insinuating that “she didn’t want me to win.”
Rao said that Scott told him to alter his platform to remove negative references to the current UA, told him he could not speak to the press, and made several late-night phone calls to him explaining new rules and calling special meetings.
“She’s discouraging people aside from the chosen UA insiders from running,” he said.