UPDATE: Chairman clarifies facts surrounding SGA emergency senator elections

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UPDATE: Tuesday, January 16, 2018

By Jessica Robinson, Editor-in-Chief

Following the publication of the opinion editorial regarding the recent SGA emergency senator elections, the SGA Chairman of the board, Andrew Bradley, reached out to the Lambda to clarify and correct certain factual errors.

The initial claim that the senator by-elections were unconstitutional has been refuted. The writers of the editorial initially ascertained that the election was unconstitutional based on two points, which have since been disproven and corrected. The points and their corrections are as follows.

Firstly, the SGA constitution states, in Section E-1.2, “The By-election shall take place at least two weeks after the notification to the membership at an Emergency Board Meeting.”

This language is ambiguous as to whether or not it is simply the by-election that takes place at an emergency board meeting, or if both the notification of the membership and the by-election are required to take place at separate emergency board meetings that are at least two weeks apart.

The writers of the op-ed (and myself as editor) understood this clause to mean that both the notification of the membership and the by-election were to take place at separate emergency board meetings.

The SGA board of directors has agreed upon the first interpretation of the clause, where only the by-election must occur at an emergency board meeting, following the two week notice given to the general membership.

Based on this agreed upon interpretation, the single emergency board meeting is not in violation of the constitution.

Secondly, the editorial states that the SGA general membership was only given one day’s notice with regards to the emergency election, based on a Facebook post made by the SGA page on January 9, 2018.

Bradley drew attention to two Facebook posts made prior to January 9, that put the January 10 board meeting well within the two-week notification time frame.

Made on November 22, 2017, and December 13, 2017, respectively, the SGA posted links to an online application form for a senator position with the following copy: “SGA needs a new senator! Fill out the linked form to submit your candidacy. You need to be an SGA member and need to be able to make it to the Jan. 22nd Board meeting at 5PM.”

This copy contains a factual error based on a miscommunication within the SGA. The post references the general assembly SGA board meeting that will see the ratification of candidates for the 2018-19 year, and not the emergency board meeting that served to elect candidates for the vacant positions for the remainder of the 2017-18 year.

Bradley says that he personally sent “three separate emails” to every person that applied through the online application portal correcting the date.

Furthermore, the editorial stated, “The current year’s board members have a constitutional right to critique these candidates because this particular election is to fill a vacant spot.” This is incorrect. Bradley chose to offer the board members the opportunity to engage in discussion during a brief question period; this is not required or mentioned in the constitution.

The opinion editorial has since been corrected to remove any claims that the meeting was unconstitutional, as can be found below.

By Dane Sauvé and Olivia Francesconi, for the Lambda 

(Originally published on January 15, 2018; updated on January 16, 2018)

On Wednesday, January 10, we attended the Students’ General Association’s emergency board meeting called to elect two new student senators.

Following the land acknowledgment, the three candidates gave short speeches detailing their goals for the position, and were asked three follow-up questions, respectively, by board members.

The questions repeatedly referred to the need for better communication between the SGA board members and SGA membership. The current board members critiqued the candidates’ abilities to communicate efficiently.

We quickly noticed the hypocrisy of these critiques, as currently communication is laughable at best. SGA members have had very little, if any, communication from the board members of the SGA.

When filling an empty seat (a seat that has no elected official after the initial election), the board votes on the candidates, instead of the general membership.

This would be less of an issue had the non-board members been given the opportunity to voice their concerns or questions to the candidates, or engage in the discussion at all. Despite the fact the SGA made this meeting open to the non-board members, it would seem that the general membership and their opinions were not valued.

When calling for questions, the chairman of the board asked for “questions from the board” specifically.

After denying the membership the chance to engage in the discussion, the board members trivialized their privilege to vote for a student representative. There was an open and frank discussion about how individual members wanted to abstain from voting for some of the candidates.

Amid the laughter about the proper way to not vote, we could not help but feel that these elected officials did not respect the importance of the position. Since the general membership was not allowed to vote in this case, the board members should have realized the importance of their say and taken the meeting more seriously.

We understand that different circumstances surround an emergency election that may make it difficult to follow all of the proper channels. However, since there were representatives from the general membership present at the meeting, they should have been given the opportunity to speak.