Mar 272011
 
Authors: Courtney Riley

Editor’s note: The headline original read “Student denied ASCSU ride-in”

On Friday night student government elections committee told Peter Svaldi that he wouldn’t be able to run for president of the Associated Students of CSU by himself.

Svaldi petitioned the committee for the right to run without a vice president candidate for ASCSU president in the current election but was turned down in a 6-1 vote.

In the past, students have run for president with a vice president on their ticket because of Article VII Section 701 of ASCSU’s Constitution, which states, “the president and vice president shall be elected on a single ticket.”

Svaldi explained the timing and motivation of the petition may seem questionable but said he wanted to get more involved with campus. The senior restaurant and resort management major’s declared graduation date is fall of 2011, but he said he is considering pushing it to spring of 2012.

“My final semesters are rapidly approaching, and recently I have felt a strong and deep passion for strengthening the bonds and connections on campus with all the students, administration, faculty and staff,” he said.

Svaldi presented a petition to the student government elections committee challenging the constitutionality of Article VII because he believed the interpretation of the article contradicted Amendment I of ASCSU’s Constitution.

Amendment I requires that all students be given the right to “fair, functional, accessible and productive representation by student government.”

“It is my personal belief that the requirement to have a running mate to compete for either executive office is nothing more than a barrier that prevents members from pursuing and expanding their affiliation with this organization,” he said.

The elections committee has the authority to approve or deny the write-in candidates. Their meeting was not aiming at making any constitutional interpretation.

“I can see where there might be some grey area,” election committee member Tim Sellers said of the wording in Article VII Section 701 of the Constitution. “If no vice president exists, it doesn’t make it entirely clear what happens there. If I were to bet on anything, I’d say you must have a vice president.”

Sellers said that’s probably the way it was intended and the most efficient way to run the organization.

“I think the intent is that when people vote on the leaders of ASCSU, they vote on the president and vice president,” he said. “That way the vice president isn’t hired. It’s supposed to be an elected position. As an elected position, I think that you have to have the president and the vice president be elected on a single ticket.”

Svaldi said as long as the students realize he has no vice president candidate on his ticket, then it’s full disclosure.

“I agree there are some grey areas, and I think there are some things that might be able to be done to improve how our student government functions and the accessibility and access to it,” Svaldi said.

Jordan Von Bokern, an elections committee member, said a ticket in which there is no vice president would be an illegitimate ticket.

“I think that’s the clear meaning of it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a matter of interpretation. I think that is explicitly stated.”

Another member of the elections committee, Ari Clasquin, disagreed and said she voted yes to show that she believes the wording needs to be changed.

“I don’t think that ‘and’ means ‘has to,’” she said. “I think it’s something that needs to be addressed, but we are not the body to do it.”

Svaldi said his next focus is to plan on filing with the Supreme Court to get interpretation clarification of the statement in the Constitution.

He said other options he may consider are running for a Senate seat, filling a vacant seat or getting a position with the cabinet or Supreme Court.

“I haven’t decided how I can best be of use to students yet,” he said.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Courtney Riley can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:29 pm

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