The saga continues.
After the four parties and one independent running for Central Student Government president endured various complaints that led to the longest-known hearing in the history of University Elections Commission — ultimately delaying election results by 11 hours — the Central Student Judiciary held its own hearing last night.
Ending a nearly six-hour hearing until about 1 a.m. today, the Central Student Judiciary voted to remand an appeal of a hearing held by the UEC against Business junior Manish Parikh, the unofficial winner of the CSG presidential elections, back to the UEC. However, even after the UEC addresses the case again, it could be appealed an additional time, and CSG officials say they are unsure when the case will end.
In the original hearing, which lasted a total of 12 hours, the UEC ruled in a 3-2 vote that e-mail violations by Parikh only garnered four demerits, because of various mitigating factors. Parikh originally faced more than 1,000 demerits — only five are needed to disqualify a candidate from the election.
CSJ found that only two of the 11 mitigating factors that the UEC decided the case on still stand. The UEC will now review the hearing on these two factors.
Law student Ryan Gersovitz, the CSJ chief justice, was unable to give a definite date for the end of the hearings.
New members of the CSG assembly should have been seated at today’s meeting, and CSG official expressed hope that the certification and seating of the presidential elections could be expedited.
CSJ justice Carlos Torres, also a Law student, noted that CSJ will do whatever it takes to verify the elections in an effort to establish the next ruling student government body. Instead the court put a temporary restraining order, lasting 48 hours, on the certification of the presidential election to give both CSG and the UEC adequate time to operate.
“If … we’ve been doing this for three weeks and we’re not going to be able to seat people before the end of finals, we’re going to lock the goddamn door and we’re all going to sit in a room and we’re going to figure this out,” Torres said. “We’re not going to leave campus this year without a president.”
Gersovitz said the UEC hopes to certify the presidential elections, but the CSG constitution and compiled code say the president must be seated after 10 days. This could create logistical problems if this hearing is not resolved within this time frame.
“The temporary restraining order allows us to get the time to write our opinion and the UEC to hear the opinion again on remand,” Gersovitz said. “We’re worried that if we don’t grant this order that tomorrow the UEC will certify the election deadlines and that within 10 days, Parikh has to be seated.”
LSA senior Brendan Campbell, the CSG vice president, said prematurely certifying the president would reflect poorly on CSG if the impending UEC hearing disqualifies the president-elect.
“If a candidate is removed from the ballot, but has already been certified as the winner, it will create serious problems for the true winner of the election,” Campbell said.
Election director Peter Borock said there is a chance that in light of this remand, the UEC will not return to hold this hearing.
“This is going to be going for a while,” Borock said. “I don’t want to speak hyperbolically, but there’s a chance that the UEC just resigns en masse, because they can’t do this anymore.”
Borock added: “To be honest, I don’t know if they can do this anymore. It’s taken six weeks out of everyone’s life… (CSG) might have to find new members (of the UEC).”