Lamb-Breen send complaint to Constitutional Council

Last night’s emergency GUSA meeting spawned the Constitutional Council, which the Senators charged with making sense out of the current situation. This morning, slighted-feeling ticket Jeff Lamb and Molly Breen filed an appeal of the Election Commission’s decision to disqualify them:

Incorrect Application of the Election Rules: Appeal to the Constitutional Council

Submitted By Jeffrey Lamb, For Public View, On Behalf of the Lamb/Breen Ticket

This document is an official complaint, filed by myself on behalf on the Lamb/Breen GUSA Presidential/Vice Presidential candidate ticket, to the first appointed Constitutional Council. As you are surely aware of the situation at hand, I will only briefly outline the disqualification and ensuing situation.

On the evening of February 23, 2009, at approximately 6:00 pm, Molly and I received an email from Sophia Behnia, the election commissioner, informing us that our ticket had been disqualified for a second violation of University and Residence life flyering policy. This was indeed our second infraction of this policy, and at no point do Molly or myself claim that the commissioner is unfounded in this claim. The first violation was a flier found in ICC, not on a bulletin board, but above a pay-phone. We, along with all other candidates, received an email saying that a second violation of the flyering policy would result in the ticket being disqualified. The second violation was made known to us, when Ms. Behnia and the E.C. reported that less than ten fliers had been put under doors on Darnall Hall. The quote below is taken directly from the email notifying us of our disqualification.

“Yesterday, a student (not even a candidate) emailed us photos of your quarter-sheets stuffed under doors in Darnall Hall.  This is a direct violation of the residence hall posting policies which we emailed you last week.”

The rest of their appeal, along with their letter to students, after the jump.

Once again, we do not deny that this is in fact a violation of Residence Life policy. Based on the second violation, we were notified on the eve of the election, that our ticket was being disqualified. According to Ms. Behnia and the E.C., our decision to violate University, and specifically Residence Life policy, was means for disqualification. The quote witnessed below was taken directly from the Commissioner’s email to the Lamb/Breen ticket, received on the evening of the 23rd.

“It is imperative that the university’s policies are respected especially by those students seeking the highest position in student office.”

Commissioner and Election Committee, the Lamb/Breen ticket shares a parallel view in a candidate’s duty to adhere to University and residence Hall Policy (as all Georgetown Students are obligated to do). After careful case review and discussion, which included input from a number of Senators and GUSA executives, we have determined that the Election Commission has incorrectly and inadequately applied the rules outlined in Section 16 of the Constitution By-Laws. In section 16.01-16.05 of the By-laws, approximately six violations are listed which justify grounds for the disqualification of a ticket. These violations include the use of electronic voting stations, and monetary expenditure which exceeds the budget set by the E.C., among a few less apparent violations. Section 16.06 directly states “no other restrictions than those stated here (above) shall apply to campaigning.”

Commissioner and constitutional council, at not point in our campaign did the Lamb/Breen ticket, or any affiliated campaign managers, fail to adhere to the rules outlined in sections 16.01-16.05. Section 16.06 ensures that in no way is the Election Committee allowed to create rules, or disqualify a candidate for rules other than those listed: this includes Residence Hall violations and other University policies. The emails, although sent with good intentions, were irrelevant and unenforceable by the Election Commission. Georgetown University policies are enforceable only by the Georgetown Administration. The Georgetown University Student Association is an organization comprised of students, and operates to serve the students. The isolation of all GUSA decisions and operations from the administrators prevent the Election Commission from punishing candidates for infractions outside of those outlined in the bylaws. The disqualification of both tickets on February 23rd was therefore unjustified and has had significant negative impact on the Lamb/Breen ticket, as well as the students of Georgetown University.

Based on section 16.08, article A of the bylaws, the Lamb/Breen ticket is appealing the disqualification of our candidacy, as the Election Commission “incorrectly or inadequately applied the rules.”

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To The Students of Georgetown

From Jeff Lamb

The situation that has transpired over the past two days has been a fiasco to say the least. All candidates, Molly and myself included, have spent multiple hours a day for over two weeks to demonstrate to you, the students, that we are both qualified and passionate about creating a stronger Georgetown. Looking beyond the past two weeks, Molly and I have dedicated over five years to serving the University through different noteworthy avenues. It is apparent to us, and many students, that our ticket was disqualified unjustly. Beyond the mistake made by the Election Commission (which they are taking steps to reverse), we would ask you to think about what will make Georgetown a stronger environment for students? We would ask you to morally evaluate whether breaking a flyering policy is grounds for discrediting our list of qualifications and blanketing our true passion to help the students of Georgetown University.

We have taken every conversation and recommendation to heart, and the interactions we have had with many of you have led to the creation of our five platforms; platforms that we assure you will be accomplished. We have put many of the activities in our life on pause for the past two weeks in order to gain a much-needed understanding of the issues facing Georgetown. Despite the debacle that has occurred, Molly and I remain confident that GUSA, if operated correctly, is and should be a tremendous asset to improve the experience of all Georgetown students. We are confident that following a reevaluation of the disqualification by the Constitutional Council this evening, the decision will be reversed, and our ticket will be reinstated.

With that in mind, Molly and I would ask that you work with us to make Georgetown a stronger place. The events that have taken place over the past few days have forced all of us reevaluate this question. We need all of your help in appointing the students that will truly make a difference. Despite the overarching opinion of GUSA, the natural leaders we need are prevalent on campus. As of right now they simply are not valued as a resource for a broader voice in ‘student government’.  Instead, student government has become its own club of elected leaders/lobbyists.  There’s nothing wrong with such an approach, but it certainly is an incomplete representation of campus sentiment and talent. Molly and I ask that you work with us to bring student representation, and credibility, back to GUSA. Break this unconstructive cycle, let your voice be heard, and vote Lamb/Breen for a stronger Georgetown.
I would like to be the first to clarify, and have it go down on record that I believe GUSA has done a fantastic job handling an adverse situation. The fault I find with GUSA, and the only fault right now, is that the Constitutional Council was created as a reaction to this situation, when its purpose is to prevent these events from occurring in the first place. Pat Dowd, James Kelly, and the GUSA senate have done an excellent job handling this situation, and once again I commend them. We are however disappointed, that the Constitutional Council was not already in place, and that events have reached this level of
exhaustion. Regards, Jeff Lamb

One Comment on “Lamb-Breen send complaint to Constitutional Council

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