Brown and Hayden, rest of Top 4 hope to Revitalize Student Community Sunday, Sep 4 2022 

By Joe Wilson —

Excitement, community, and potential. These are just some of the words that the the top 4 officers of the Student Government Association (SGA) use to describe the upcoming school year.

Earlier this week, Dorian Brown and Katie Hayden spoke with The Louisville Cardinal about their new roles as SGA’s Student Body President and Executive Vice President, respectively. 

Prior to Their Positions

Both Brown and Hayden were elected to their posts in Spring 2022, after a tumultuous election cycle that involved months-long lawsuits and a run-off election. Reflecting on the election, Brown recalls being caught off guard by the contentious end of the campaign. “When it got deeper into the process, it kind of fueled my fire to want to be a person that can make changes in the future so that this situation doesn’t happen again in the upcoming years,” he said.

Speaking about the election, Hayden adds, “It was really hard. I would say there are a lot of different factors playing into the election. At the end of the day, we were very happy that it turned out how it did.”

What’s in Store For The Top 4

Shifting the conversation away from the past, both Brown and Hayden expressed optimism about the future on campus, including a wish to revitalize U of L’s student community after the university decided to ease most of its COVID-19 restrictions from the previous two years. In August, the university announced it would no longer require students, faculty, and staff to wear masks indoors. 

Hayden noted the improvement in student morale after the mask policy change. “It’s kind of funny, because you see people around campus that you’ve known for years, and they look completely different because you’ve been looking at them under a mask, so we’re excited to get a lot more face-to-face interaction this year.”

Ultimately, Hayden explains, the changes to the mask policy were made in consideration of public health guidelines and students’ mental health. “We talked about a lot of different factors that played into it, whether the mental health aspect of wearing a mask, the depression rates,” she explained.

Brown adds that the university continues to monitor COVID-19 cases on campus and will update the masking policy as needed. “We’re still going to track the COVID positive rates and base our next decisions on those.” Above all, Brown emphasized his goal to give students a typical college experience.

Looking Towards a Safer Future

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown and Hayden see campus security as a top priority in their administration. Hayden explains, “We’ve been working very closely with U of L PD to ensure we’re being extremely transparent in our measures. The university has put a lot of money into safety measures across the board.”

Reflecting on the other challenges the U of L community faces, Brown remains hopeful for the future. “We don’t know what’s in store for this year, but we have a lot of potential to have one of the best years the university has seen so far.”

To learn more about the SGA, you can do so here. You can follow them on Instagram here.

File Photo // U of L SGA //

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Board of Trustees Approves FY 2023 Operating Budget Saturday, Jun 25 2022 

By Joe Wilson —

The U of L Board of Trustees approved the operating budget for the Fiscal Year 2023 on June 23.

On July 1, the operating budget will be $1,521,853,578, the largest budget in the university’s history. The latest budget is $186 million larger than last year’s. In addition, the university expects revenues for the Fiscal Year 2023 to total $1,490,267,918. The university has presented a balanced budget along with $31,585,660 of unused funds from the prior year.

The budget outlines three main priorities for the upcoming fiscal year: investing in students, employees, and the university’s infrastructure.

For students, the university plans to create the Cardinal Commitment program to pay full tuition for many Pell-eligible students. In addition, the budget includes an increase in graduate student stipends totaling $600,000.

For university employees, the budget includes a cost-of-living salary increase of 2.5 percent for faculty and staff and a starting minimum wage of $14.75 for full-and part-time staff. The budget also notes the university hopes to increase the minimum wage further to $15 per hour by early 2023.

The budget also allocates funds to improve the university’s physical infrastructure, website, and brand marketing campaign.

Writing to the Board of Trustees, U of L Interim President Lori Gonzalez says: “Our proposed budget is mathematically balanced. It ensures that our efforts over the past few years to develop a solid and predictable financial base continue, even in the face of the many challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brought us. This budget also underscores the commitment to be responsible stewards of our funds.”

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal //

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Interim President Lori Gonzalez optimistic about U of L’s future Wednesday, May 11 2022 

By Madelin Shelton — 

At the conclusion of the Spring semester, Interim President Lori Stewart Gonzalez spoke with The Louisville Cardinal about her role so far and where she would like to see U of L go during her tenure.

Gonzalez came to U of L in April 2021 as the new executive vice president and university provost. Following the departure of former U of L President Neeli Bendapudi in December 2021, Gonzalez was appointed by the Board of Trustees as the acting interim university president.

Gonzalez says the biggest challenge for U of L is the numerous transitions the university has endured over the last decade. She said Bendapudi’s departure added another transition U of L had to go through. “I’ve been trying to hold it steady and do everything and be out there so people know that somebody’s watching what’s going on, but I think all the transitions are difficult for our campus.”

Despite these difficulties, Gonzalez highlighted what U of L has been able to accomplish following her appointment. “One of the things I’m most proud of for our employees has been that we’re able to provide a one percent raise in March,” she said. “That’s good because we need to invest in our most prized resource, which is our people.” Gonzalez also commended the way the university was able to smoothly return to in-person instruction.

Looking forward, one thing Gonzalez is focused on addressing is student success. She said U of L’s current graduation rate is 60.4 percent and she would like to see that number go up. “That will mean providing services for students who need them.”

Specifically, Gonzalez mentioned potentially expanding REACH and hiring more academic advisors. Gonzalez said there is currently a committee that is assessing how U of L can improve student success and it will provide recommendations in June.

She also wants to focus on communicating what makes U of L distinct. “We have interesting programs, we have our focus on research, and we need to share that with our community and with the larger higher education community and, frankly, nationally. I don’t think we’ve communicated our distinctiveness well,” she said.

The last major value Gonzalez would like to advance during her tenure is financial sustainability. Part of that, she said, includes routinely rewarding employees and keeping tuition as low as possible while still meeting the university’s financial needs.

Overall, Gonzalez sees higher education as a transformational experience and U of L is no different. “When I listen to students and alumni and hear the passion of this place, I know it is a transformational experience for people and it goes on after graduation,” she said.

Gonzalez also noted her optimism for U of L going forward. “Our budget is stronger, we had the best year in our General Assembly, we got tons of support from our legislators and the governor’s office, our enrollment is looking strong for the fall, so the state of U of L is strong and I’m very optimistic and excited about the future.”

Photo Courtesy // U of L News

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Brown and Sebastian win SGA run-off elections Wednesday, Apr 27 2022 

By Joe Wilson —

Dorian Brown and Bryson Sebastian have won their races for president and academic vice president in the Student Government Association (SGA) run-off elections.

According to unofficial results obtained by The Louisville Cardinal, the race for student body president ended with Brown in first with 1,166 votes to Sydney Finley’s 716, creating a margin of 500 votes.

The results for academic vice president are much slimmer. Those show Sebastian coming in first with 908 votes to Kendall Tubbs’ 897, creating a margin of just 11 votes.

The unofficial results also contain the overall turn-out rate for the latest run-off election. Out of the 20,115 students who were eligible to vote, only 1,908 students submitted ballots. This creates a turn-out rate of 9.47 percent.

The results were scheduled to be announced on April 26, but SGA has yet to release the run-off results on its website or social media pages.

According to the SGA website, candidates will have until April 28 to file lawsuits to challenge the results.

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SGA holds run-off elections following student backlash Saturday, Apr 23 2022 

By Joe Wilson — 

Run-off elections for Student Government Association (SGA) have begun. Voting opened April 21 at 12 a.m. and will run through April 24 at 12 a.m. The ballot was sent to all students via email. 

On the ballot, students will be able to vote for candidates running for student body president and academic vice president. 

The election for student body president will be between candidates Sydney Finley and Dorian Brown. The run-off comes weeks after the SGA Supreme Court handed down a controversial decision that changed the unofficial results of the election. In the first round of voting, which took place March 7-9, the unofficial results showed Brown in first with 844 votes and Finley in second with 791 votes. However, after post-election lawsuits that alleged campaign rule violations, the Court implemented a three percent vote sanction per alleged violation that reduced Brown’s vote total to 421 and Finley’s to 670. The Court did not change its initial decision, but chose to move the election to a run-off following the significant backlash from the student body. 

The run-off for academic vice president will be between candidates Bryson Sebastian and Kendall Tubbs. In the first round of voting, Sebastian came in first with 579 votes and Tubbs came in second with 535 votes. With neither candidate receiving the 40 percent plurality threshold mandated by the SGA General Election Rules, the race automatically moved to a run-off.

There was also a run-off planned for the position of executive vice president that was set to be between Katie Hayden and Valerie Tran. However, Tran has since announced that she did not want the position, leaving Hayden as the next executive vice president. 

After the unofficial results are tallied on April 25, campaigns will have until April 28 to file any lawsuits regarding the election results.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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SGA Supreme Court moves student body president election to run-off Friday, Apr 15 2022 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The SGA Supreme Court has handed down a new decision relating to the controversy surrounding this year’s SGA elections. The opinion declares that the election for student body president will move to a run-off.

The decision read in part, “Upon deliberation and consideration of the Petition, the Court stands with this prior decision and will not reverse/reduce/reconsider/etc the sanctions delivered. However, the Court recognizes the unprecedented waters in which this suit has transfigured. We hear the convictions of the Student Body and acknowledge their frustrations. Taking all things into consideration, the Court is allowing a run-off election for Student Body President to take place (alongside the EVP and AVP run-offs that have been postponed). This run-off election will be limited to Dorian Brown and Sydney Finley.”

This opinion was handed down in response to a Petition to Reconsider filed by the Brown/Hayden ticket. The petition asked the Court to throw out its controversial April 8 decision that overturned the results for the student body president election and declared that the race for executive vice president would move to a run-off. The petition alleged several claims that the Supreme Court acted inappropriately during the election-related hearings, resulting in an unfair process for Brown/Hayden. SGA Supreme Court Chief Justice Jacquelyn Gesser was involved in the original decision as a non-voting member, but recused herself following the filing of the Petition to Reconsider.

For student body president, the unofficial results originally had Dorian Brown in first with 844 votes, Sydney Finley in second with 791 votes and Afi Tagnedji in third with 380 votes. The unofficial results for executive vice president has Katie Hayden in first with 856 votes, Valerie Tran in second with 497 votes, Paighton Brooks in third with 460 votes and Makayla Streater in fourth with 162 votes.

Following an election lawsuit filed by the Finley/Brooks ticket against the Brown/Hayden ticket and election-related hearings held by the SGA Supreme Court, the Court’s April 8 decision resulted in election violation sanctions against both parties in the suit. The Court’s sanctions included a three percent deduction in each candidate’s original vote total for every alleged violation of the SGA General Election Rules (SGAGER). These sanctions resulted in Brown’s vote total being reduced to 421 votes and Finley’s to 670, declaring Finley the next student body president-elect.

For executive vice president, the sanctions against Hayden reduced her original vote total to 441 votes and Brooks’ to 341. Tran and Streater’s vote totals remained unchanged, placing Tran in first with 497. However, the new vote totals resulted in no candidate achieving the required 40 percent voting plurality as required by the SGAGER. This automatically moved the race to a run-off election between the top two vote getters, Hayden and Tran. The Court’s newest opinion leaves the status of this election unchanged.

Finley and Liam Gallagher, a sophomore political science student who acted as the counsel for Brown/Hayden during the election hearings, did not respond to a request for comment about the Court’s latest decision.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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SGA Supreme Court Chief Justice recuses herself from upcoming decision Thursday, Apr 14 2022 

By Madelin Shelton and Joe Wilson — 

SGA Supreme Court Chief Justice Jacquelyn Gesser has recused herself from the Finley/Brooks v. Brown/Hayden election lawsuit ahead of the Court’s anticipated decision. According to an email obtained by The Louisville Cardinal, the Court will be handing down an opinion later this week in response to a Petition to Reconsider filed by the Brown/Hayden ticket.

Liam Gallagher, a sophomore U of L student who is acting as the counsel for Brown/Hayden during the proceedings, issued a statement in response to Gesser’s decision to recuse. “We are glad that she will not be ruling on our current case, but it is sad that we had to wait until after I submitted a request to force her to recuse herself that she actually did it. She should have known to do it in the first place.”

The Petition to Reconsider asked the Court to throw out its April 8 decision that overturned the unofficial results for SGA student body president and moved the executive vice president election to a run-off.

Originally, Dorian Brown finished first in the race for student body president with 844 votes, Sydney Finley finished second with 791 votes and Afi Tagnedji finished third with 380 votes. Following a lawsuit and election hearings held by the SGA Supreme Court, it issued election violation sanctions that deducted three percent from an individual’s vote count for each alleged violation of the SGA General Election Rules. This action changed Finley’s vote count to 670 and Brown’s to 421, making Finley the presumed student body president-elect. Tagnedji’s vote total did not change.

These sanctions also resulted in a deduction of executive vice president candidate Katie Hayden’s first place finish from 856 votes to 441 votes. Third place finisher Paighton Brooks was also deducted from 460 votes to 341. Valerie Tran’s vote total remained the same at 497. This deduction technically placed Tran in the first place spot, but no candidate with the new totals achieved a 40 percent plurality, forcing the election to a run-off per the SGA General Election Rules.

The Brown/Hayden’s petition lists several claims that the Court acted inappropriately in reaching their original decision. The claims include:

  • The Court gave Brown/Hayden two days to prepare for the pretrial conference and oral argument. The SGA Constitution requires 14 days notice for respondents to appear before the Court. 
  • The Court failed to keep a file of previous court decisions, hindering Brown/Hayden’s ability to cite relevant precedent in oral argument.
  • The Court used outside evidence that was not presented by the Finley/Brooks ticket during the election hearings for five of the seven election violations sanctioned against Brown/Hayden.
  • The Court violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by punishing Brown/Hayden for receiving endorsements from people representing private organizations. SGA is bound to follow the U.S. Constitution by Section 1.2 of the SGA Constitution.

Uproar relating to the Court’s original decision intensified after the Louisville Political Review, an undergraduate-run online magazine, published an article that alleged corruption among the current SGA Top 4 and the Supreme Court.

Gesser’s recusal comes after the Louisville Political Review published a separate article with screenshots of text messages sent to academic vice president candidate Julia Mattingly. The Louisville Political Review alleged that Gesser and current academic vice president Alexa Meza worked together to remove votes from candidate Kendall Tubbs in order to move the academic vice president election to a run-off.

The allegations of corruption surrounding the academic vice president run-off elections prompted a separate announcement from SGA Supreme Court Associate Justice Jacob Frakes. In an email sent to the academic vice president candidates, Frakes wrote: “Justices Bhutto, Atkins, Gupta, Lamar, and I have decided to delay this run-off for the time being. Taking into consideration the current state of the student body, we think this decision is for the best. I can assure you we are working diligently and will certainly have more information by the weeks end.”

According to Gallagher, the Brown/Hayden ticket also questioned Gesser’s involvement in the lawsuit because of her close friendship with current SGA Student Body President Ugonna Okorie, who acted as an eyewitness for Finley/Brooks. 

In prior communications with The Louisville Cardinal, Gesser indicated that the chief justice serves as a non-voting member of the Court.

In addition to the Court’s forthcoming decision, a special meeting of the SGA Student Senate to address the controversy is planned for Apr. 15 at the PNC Horn Auditorium in the College of Business. The meeting is open to the entire student body. 

Finley and the SGA Supreme Court did not respond to a request for comment. 

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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SGA Supreme Court opinion raises allegations of corruption Tuesday, Apr 12 2022 

By Madelin Shelton and Joe Wilson — 

The Student Government Association at U of L is facing backlash after the SGA Supreme Court handed down a decision overturning the unofficial results of this year’s elections.

The Court’s opinion changed the outcome of the student body president election, in which candidate Dorian Brown originally came in first. Due to alleged election violation sanctions issued after election-related hearings, Brown has been declared by the Court to have come in second behind candidate Sydney Finley. The opinion also declared that the race for executive vice president will move to a run-off.

Of the controversy as a whole, Liam Gallagher, a sophomore political science student who served as the counsel for the Brown/Hayden ticket during the hearings said, “This election will go down in the history of U of L as one of the worst displays of executive overreach we’ve ever seen.” He continued, “If the university refuses to take action, we will take action outside of the university.”

Finley also gave her take on the situation. “A lot of the information circulating around only presents partial evidence or information that is being used to support false assumptions.” She continued, “It’s unfortunate that people are sending threats and hate messages over something that truly did not happen. There is much more at play here, and I am hoping that with the release of the suit packets by LPR, students will begin to see this whole thing is a concerted effort to confuse students from the truth.”

A bombshell article from the Louisville Political Review, a nonpartisan, undergraduate-run, online magazine, alleged claims of corruption among the current SGA Top 4 and Supreme Court, along with deliberately breaking the SGA Constitution during the election hearing proceedings. The Louisville Cardinal has investigated these and other claims to evaluate their merit. Below are the findings: 

From an email obtained by The Louisville Cardinal, Brown and his running mate, Katie Hayden, were notified by the SGA Supreme Court on March 21 that Finley filed an election Violation Notification Form, alleging six election violations against Brown/Hayden. SGA Supreme Court Chief Justice Jacquelyn Gesser requested Brown and Hayden be present two days later, on March 23, for a pretrial hearing.

However,  Section 5.7.6 of the SGA Constitution states that, “The Supreme Court may order all parties to appear before it no less than fourteen (14) days from the time of service for a pretrial conference.” This points to a violation of the SGA Constitution by the Supreme Court.

In its opinion, the Court decided that each election violation would result in a three percent deduction, or sanction, from a candidate’s original vote total.

The original Court’s decision found the Brown/Hayden ticket to be guilty of two out of the original six claims brought by Finley/Brooks. However, the Court cited seven election-related violations against Brown/Hayden. In addition to two sanctions for claims listed in Finley’s original suit, the SGA Supreme Court conducted its own search and cited five other election violations allegedly committed by Brown/Hayden. The Court did not issue sanctions on Finley/Brooks for any allegations outside of those brought forth by Brown/Hayden. 

Traditional courts typically do not bring in outside evidence. Standard practice calls for the counsel of both the plaintiffs and the respondents to provide evidence, then the courts evaluate only the evidence brought before them. 

Gallagher said his clients were unaware of these five allegations until the Court’s opinion was handed down April 8. Therefore, the Brown/Hayden ticket was not presented with an opportunity to provide a defense against these five allegations during the election hearings. 

When asked if there was SGA Supreme Court precedent of the justices bringing in outside evidence, Gallagher said, “We don’t have precedent. So I requested on three different occasions the precedent of the Court. All three times they said either we’re working on it or we can’t find it.” 

In Section 5.7.8 of the SGA Constitution, it says, “A compilation of all decisions of the Supreme Court shall be kept in the SGA office and online and made available to all students.” However, The Louisville Cardinal was unable to locate any records of Supreme Court precedent on the SGA website. 

Despite a lack of public records, Finley’s original suit against Brown/Hayden references SGA Supreme Court precedent.

Finley spoke with The Louisville Cardinal about the situation and said that the reference didn’t come from possession of a physical copy of such precedent. “This is because the information on the previous precedent was learned through communication with past SGA officers from previous years who have encountered similar situations pertaining to the claims we filed,” she said. 

The Louisville Political Review’s article claims Finley, as the executive vice president in the current Top 4 administration, is “constitutionally responsible” for the upkeep of SGA Supreme Court precedent records according to the SGA Constitution.

The Louisville Cardinal finds this to be incorrect, as Finley is responsible for compiling and maintaining records for the Executive Branch of SGA. The Supreme Court makes up the Judicial Branch of SGA. 

During the post-election campaign lawsuits, Eli Cooper, the current services vice president and a fellow member of Top 4 alongside Finley, acted as counsel for the Finley/Brooks campaign. Gallagher said this represents a clear conflict of interest. In response to this claim, Finley said in a statement, “It can be argued that some of the witnesses (from both parties) listed in the now public suit packet are ‘conflicts of interest.’ In a situation like this, you must use your best judgment as to when to separate professional opinions or actions from external leadership endeavors. Eli never once utilized his position as SVP to aid in this case in any way.” 

It should be noted that Gallagher is involved in SGA as a senator and was recently elected as the next College of A&S president.

Similarly, current SGA President Ugonna Okorie acted as an eyewitness for Finley/Brooks, which Gallagher also says represents a conflict of interest. In response, Finley pointed to the fact that the Court did not rule in favor of any of the Finley/Brooks claims in which Okorie served as an eyewitness. She also said that in these hearings, the Court judges whether the parties involved are acting in good faith. Under that standard, the Court determined that Okorie’s involvement in the hearing was permissible. 

The allegations against the current Top 4 and the Supreme Court has resulted in widespread backlash across campus. The U of L College Republicans and Young Democrats released the following joint statement:

“The U of L College Republicans and Young Democrats wholeheartedly condemn the undemocratic actions of the SGA Supreme Court and the current Executive Branch regarding the outcome of the most recent SGA election. These individuals have directly hindered the democratic process at U of L and proper actions should be taken immediately to reverse this wrongdoing.” 

In addition, a petition titled “Protect democracy at the University of Louisville before it’s too late” is circulating online with over 250 signatures. It asks signees to protect democracy by showing support for the Louisville Political Review’s article and calls for accountability over the elections. 

SGA Supreme Court Justice Jacquelyn Gesser did not respond to a request for comment.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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SGA Supreme Court hands down controversial election decision Sunday, Apr 10 2022 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The SGA Supreme Court will soon announce the results of the election-related hearings surrounding the Top 4 elections. The Court’s decision, which has not been made public but has been obtained by The Louisville Cardinal, overturned the unofficial results for student body president and declared that the elections for executive vice president and academic vice president will move to run-off elections.

SGA elections originally took place March 7-9, but lawsuits filed claiming election violations against various candidates delayed the announcement of official results overseen by the SGA Supreme Court.

The unofficial results for the race of student body president had Dorian Brown in first place with 844 votes, Sydney Finley in second place with 791 votes and Afi Tagnedji in third place with 380 votes. The Court’s opinion in response to the hearings, and the coinciding subtraction of votes based on the merit of the election violations, changed the vote totals to the following: Finley with 670 votes, Brown with 421 votes and Tagnedji with 380 votes. This means that despite the original vote totals, Finley has been declared student body president-elect by the SGA Supreme Court.

For executive vice president, Katie Hayden finished first with 856 votes, Valerie Tran finished second with 497 votes, Paighton Brooks finished third with 460 votes and Makayla Streater finished fourth with 162 votes. The Court’s opinion changed these vote totals to Tran with 497 votes, Hayden with 441 votes, Brooks with 341 votes and Streater with 162 votes. No candidate in the executive vice president race achieved a plurality of 40 percent based on these new vote totals. Therefore, in accordance with Section 10.1.1 of the SGA Constitution, the race automatically must move forward to a run-off election between Tran and Hayden. The date, time and manner of run-off elections are for the SGA Supreme Court to decide.

The academic vice president race finished with Bryson Sebastian in first with 579 votes, Kendall Tubbs in second with 535 votes, Julia Mattingly in third with 521 votes and Lucas Threlfall in fourth place with 340 votes. With no candidate achieving a 40 percent plurality, the election for this position will also move to a run-off election between Sebastian and Tubbs.

Only the election for services vice president was won decisively, with Alex Reynolds finishing in first place with 1,052 votes and Ruby Young finishing in second place with 893 votes.

On March 21, plaintiffs Finley and Brooks, who ran together on a ticket, filed a violation notification form with the SGA Supreme Court alleging six election violations against Brown and Hayden, who also ran together on one ticket. In response to this lawsuit, Brown/Hayden countered with 15 alleged election violations committed by Finley/Brooks. The SGA Supreme Court then held private election-related hearings to evaluate the claims of both the plaintiffs and respondents. The only people present in the hearings were the Supreme Court justices, the plaintiffs and their counsel, the defendants and their counsel and witnesses.

The Court dismissed four out of six claims alleged by the Finley/Brooks campaign. According to the opinion issued by the court, “The Court has found that the Brown/Hayden slate violated SGAGER Chapter 203.3c seven times over the course of the campaign by posting seven different Instagram posts that included students with official positions within the University giving endorsements that must remain personal.”

SGAGER stands for SGA General Election Rules.

Endorsements from any university entity, department or affiliate are strictly prohibited for SGA candidates. Chapter 203.3 declares that SGA candidates are responsible for all online posts endorsing their candidacy, giving merit to this alleged claim in the Court’s eyes.

The Court dismissed 13 out of 15 counterclaims brought forth by the Brown/Hayden ticket. As for the remaining counterclaims brought forth by Brown/Hayden, “The Court finds that the Finley/Brooks campaign violated SGAGER Chapter 203.3b twice when two official University department Instagram pages engaged in supportive measures on the Finley/Brooks campaign Instagram account.”

In response, the Court implemented a 3 percent vote sanction per violation for both the plaintiffs and the respondents. SGAGER Chapter 602 allows the Court to “determine the form, manner, and severity of any sanction in its sole discretion.” For the Top 4 positions, this is conducted by subtracting from the total number of votes cast in the candidate’s race. The 3 percent number is not prescribed in the SGAGER but was decided upon by this Court in this specific lawsuit. “This percentage was deliberated on between the Justices as being a fair and equitable penalty,” the Court said in its opinion.

The Court’s decision resulted in a total of 423 votes deducted from Brown’s total and 415 votes from Hayden’s total. This sanction also reduced Finley’s vote total by 121 votes and Brooks’ vote total by 119 votes.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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SGA lawsuits delay announcement of official results Monday, Apr 4 2022 

By Madelin Shelton — 

Some positions in the Student Government Association have not been finalized nearly a month after elections ended on March 9. The announcement of the student body president, executive vice president and academic vice president are pending election-related hearings being presented before the SGA Supreme Court.

Jacquelyn Glesser, the chief justice of the SGA Supreme Court, which is responsible for drafting the SGA election rules and conducting elections, spoke with The Louisville Cardinal about the situation.

She said the academic vice president position is likely to turn into a runoff election after the closure of the election hearings.

The unofficial results for student body president came in with Dorian Brown finishing in first place with 844 votes, Sydney Finley in second place with 791 votes and Afi Tagnedji finishing third with 380 votes.

For executive vice president, Katie Hayden came in first with 856 votes, Valerie Tran came in second with 497 votes, Paighton Brooks finished third with 460 votes and Makayla Streater finished fourth with 162 votes.

For academic vice president, Bryson Sebastian finished first with 579 votes, Kendall Tubbs finished second  with 535 votes, Julia Mattingly came in third with 521 votes and Lucas Threlfall came in fourth with 340 votes.

Services vice president, which is the only Top 4 position to have been officially announced, finished with Alex Reynolds in first place with 1,052 votes and Ruby Young in second place with 893 votes.

The unofficial results are being contested by some of the SGA candidates, resulting in the election-related hearings. “We offer all candidates an opportunity after the unofficial results have been given, or even beforehand, to draft what’s known as the violation notification form. These forms will allege certain claims against the other candidates, usually in their own race,” Glesser said.

“They’re offered that time to draw up claims against them based on the SGA GER as well as the SGA Constitution and then the court will decide whether those are frivolous claims or not, and if they are not, then it’s moved to pretrial hearings and moving forward from that point,” she said.

The specific allegations SGA candidates are bringing up against each other is private and not available to the student body at-large. Glesser said this is because of the personal nature of the evidence and the standard practice of holding private hearings, which she said contributes to a fair evaluation of the evidence. For the hearings related to this SGA election cycle, only witnesses, counsel, the petitioners and respondents have been allowed in the room.

The SGA Supreme Court, which consists of six justices including Chief Justice Glesser, will evaluate the evidence and hand down a decision regarding the hearings. As the chief justice, however, Glesser will not be a voting member of the court’s decision. The majority decision of the other five justices will determine the outcome.

The SGA Supreme Court met yesterday to reach an opinion, which will be given to the respective counsel either Tuesday or Wednesday. From there, the SGA Supreme Court decision will potentially become public to the student body by the end of this week.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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