The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Dismissal could lead to SBP results

The road leading to tonight’s pre-trial hearing on complaints against the Board of Elections has featured more than just the questions swirling around campaign conduct.

As parties from both sides prepare for a hearing tonight that could result in the release of student body president election results, former speaker of Student Congress Deanna Santoro has had to field accusations that her motivations for filing the suit were based on a friendship with candidate Rick Ingram and that she timed the complaint to hold up the process.

Candidate Ian Lee said he has been asked by many why he hasn’t resigned his position as student body secretary, a standing that, because of the lawsuit, stalled the election’s results.

The pre-trial hearing will result in either the release of the results tonight or further delays, likely for several days.

Jessica Womack, chief justice of the Student Supreme Court, will hear arguments from both parties’ counsels regarding a motion to dismiss the complaint against Andrew Phillips, chairman of the Board of Elections. Womack will then decide either to dismiss the complaint or hold a trial.

Santoro’s complaint states that the board misinterpreted sections of the Student Code in allowing Lee to run for student body president even though he held an executive office in student government.

The suit has stalled election results for a week. But Santoro said the delay could have been avoided.

In a brief filed with the court Saturday, Santoro said she tried to address her concerns about the code with Phillips on multiple occasions, only to have her complaints ignored.

“My biggest frustration is that this is something that I brought up weeks ago, and it could’ve been handled weeks ago,” she said.

Santoro added that her connection with Ingram has been exaggerated, saying that the extent of their relationship was working together last year on the campaign of Student Body President Hogan Medlin.

“I would’ve never put myself through all of this for something that was corrupt and ridiculous,” she said. “I’ve been attacked on a daily basis for trying to stand up for what is right.”

The BOE ruled in December that Lee’s campaign was acceptable, and Lee said he’s been a bystander.

“I’ve been following the decision and the law that was directed to me by the BOE,” Lee said. “To have all this thrown at me at the end of a campaign — it’s unfortunate.”

Lee said he chose not to resign because it would be impractical for student government to find a new person to fill his position for the remaining month he had in office.

If she decides a trial is necessary, Womack said she will try to make it follow the hearing as soon as possible, though the court members’ schedules would have to match.

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.