Constitution Court leaves elections results uncontested
The ASUO Constitution Court ruled that it could not remove Helena Schlegel from the ballot and that even if it were able to enforce holding another election, it would not. The court’s ruling on the last grievance We Are Oregon filed against UO Forward during the runoff election came out Sunday night.
“Given past precedent and major ASUO controversies, the Court does not have the authority to remove a student from the ballot and neither the ASUO Constitution nor the Elections Rules provide a means or a procedure for the Court to directly remove an elected official from office,” the ruling read.
It went on to say that to disqualify the runoff election, in which over 3,000 students voted and with a majority of the votes going to UO Forward, would “frustrate the will of the student body and the mission of the ASUO.”
We Are Oregon filed its first grievance against UO Forward, which called for Schlegel’s removal from the ballot, for allegedly using phone numbers gathered for another purpose for campaign purposes before the allowed time period. On April 8, Con Court ruled that UO Forward had violated elections rules and banned the slate from campaigning for the remainder of the runoff election.
The next day, We Are Oregon filed another grievance against UO Forward for what it called an “organized appearance.” The grievance said students wearing UO Forward shirts played games on campus and continued to make phone calls related to the election in direct violation of the Court’s ruling and sanctions. We Are Oregon then called for UO Forward to be removed from the runoff election, or in the event of a UO Forward victory, that those results be dismissed and another election be held. on April 10, Helena Schlegel won the presidential election.
Con Court’s ruling read that it did not agree with UO Forward’s response, which said that the phone calls may have been impersonated, but that “there are other political processes better suited to seek the remedy the petitioner requests.” The ruling did not include recommendations for said processes.
The Court then weighed in on the process of ASUO elections as they have played out over the past few years saying: “Each of the past several years ASUO elections demonstrate better and better student leadership at this university and, at the same time, worse and worse student leadership at this university. The Court prefers that students act with the good faith, the good character and the good judgment that they purport to have when working to get elected.”
It stated that the outcome that We Are Oregon wanted was beyond the Court’s capabilities and suggested students seek to remedy the flaws that were revealed by the situation in the elections process. Associate Justice Pat Chaney expanded on this point in an additional statement, saying that university administration has set a dangerous precedent in discarding the possibility of removing ASUO candidates from the ballot. He described the system as it is now as one of “perfect anarchy,” and closed with a recommendation:
“The ASUO must claw back from the Administration the ability to effectively regulate its own elections, or it must accept that the Administration is the only body with the actual ability to administer ASUO elections,” Chaney wrote.
All Con Court decisions can be viewed here.
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