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.

The post Brown and Sebastian win SGA run-off elections appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

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 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 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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