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By SARA BERGQUIST sbe007@latech

By SARA BERGQUIST

sbe007@latech.edu

 

In another stunning reversal of this year’s Student Government Association elections, the SGA Supreme Court has decided Caleb Smith, a senior marketing major, is now SGA president-elect.

The SGA Supreme Court met last Monday to discuss the charges against Smith, who had been disqualified from the SGA president position.

The hearing included witnesses, evidence and arguments from Matt Babcock, presidential candidate, and Smith’s campaign teams.

In a previous ruling from the SGA Supreme Court, Babcock, a senior agriculture business major, had been declared SGA president-elect pending appeals. Smith won the disputed election by 92 votes.

 Dickie Crawford, chairman for the Student Organizations Committee and dean of Student Life, said the SOC unanimously agreed Smith’s due process rights were compromised when he was not informed in writing of the decisions of the SGA Election Commission meetings until April 10.

The SGA Supreme Court ruled that accusations against Smith for placing fliers on the SGA A-frames lacked evidence. However, the SGA Supreme Court found Smith guilty of placing fliers on cars in Woodard Hall parking lot and campaigning around the designated polling area. The SGA Supreme Court upheld the decision for Smith’s forfeiture of the $30 deposit.

 Crawford submitted a letter to the Justices of the SGA Supreme Court explaining why the SOC directed the SGA Supreme Court to independently review the charges against Smith.

“The SOC read all written information presented and listened to oral statements by Smith, candidate for SGA president, Lindsay Mencacci, current SGA president, and Eric Pardue, Chief Justice of the SGA Supreme Court,” the letter by Crawford stated.

“Tech adheres to the policy of the Supreme Court of the United States that states, ‘When a person’s good name, reputation, honor, or integrity is at stake because of government action, that person is entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard.’”

Crawford said Smith did not have an opportunity to respond to the allegations presented against him to the Election Commission prior to the forfeiture of his $30 deposit.

Tyler Landry, author of the appeal against Smith and a sophomore psychology major, submitted a written statement bringing forth three witnesses to testify to the SGA Supreme Court last Monday.

“When will we decide enough is enough?” Landry said. “Is the $30 forfeiture enough punishment for breaking every election code rule?”

Jacquelyn Adcock, a senior biology major, was the first eye witness brought fourth by Landry. Adcock witnessed for the campaigning fliers on SGA A-frames and also witnessed that Smith agreed to follow the rules of the organization during the election, Landry said. Adcock told the court she was not part of Babcock’s campaign team.

Mencacci, a senior biology major, was the second witness produced  by Landry. Mencacci was an eye witness of fliers placed on SGA A-frames and on cars in  the Woodard Hall parking lot. She also testified as witness to Smith’s campaigning around the polling area.

“[Smith and Babcock] were both [in the polling area] on the first day of election when I got there,” Mencacci said, relating back to the campaigning at the polls. “I don’t really know how long they were there; neither of them wanted to leave so I had to step in and say, ‘Hey, guys, that’s enough.’”

Mencacci also said she could not recall Babcock wearing a campaign pin.

Babcock was Landry’s third witness.  Babcock said he was eye witness to Smith’s campaigning fliers placed on SGA A-frames outside of Tolliver Hall and an eye witness of Smith’s campaigning around the polling area during election day. Babcock also clarified personal attacks on himself within the appeals filed by Smith.

“My team had no problem with campaigning because I took a direct role with it,” Babcock said. “I made intentions to keep quiet about this because I didn’t want to fan a fire or add fuel to the flame, but that’s not the case today.”

Babcock’s time frame for an appeal started at 8 a.m. yesterday and he has 48 hours to appeal the  the SGA Supreme Court’s decision.  

As of press time Babcock has not appealed the decision. If an appeal is made the process will go back to the SOC.

Access to all evidence concerning the SGA elections is available in Tolliver Hall, Room 212, and students are encouraged to look at documents pertaining to the elections.


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