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The Daily Tar Heel

SBP results may come out Tuesday

Student court to consider dismissal

The results of the student body president election won’t be released until Tuesday at the earliest, said Jessica Womack, chief justice of the Student Supreme Court.

The court will hold a pre-trial hearing Tuesday at 8 p.m. to hear arguments on the issue of whether or not to dismiss a complaint levied by Deanna Santoro, former speaker of Student Congress.

Santoro resigned her post Feb. 7 and filed a complaint stating that the Board of Elections had misinterpreted the Student Code in a way that allowed Student Body Secretary Ian Lee to run for student body president.

Andrew Phillips, chairman of the board, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that Santoro does not have standing to file a complaint and that the 96-hour statute of limitations for complaints outlined in the code had expired.

He added that he was unsure of whether, in the event of a runoff election following a dismissal, candidates would be given a full week for further campaigning.

Phillips said he would release the results as soon as possible after the hearing if the complaint is dismissed.

“Part of my job involves getting the election results to campus as quickly as possible,” he said.

If the complaint is not dismissed, the trial would likely not immediately follow the pre-trial hearing, since the trial requires all of the members of the court to be present, rather than just the chief justice, Womack said.

Per the request of the court, both parties submitted briefs on Saturday.

In her brief, Santoro cites a student elections case last year — Holgate v. Gillooly — in which the chief justice decided in a pre-trial hearing to consider the case despite questions of standing, she said.

In his brief, Phillips cites the ambiguity of the Code’s passages regarding student government involvement in elections. The board’s December interpretation of the Student Code was “the most reasonable way to resolve the textual conflict,” he argues.

Santoro said she is not worried about the outcome of Tuesday’s hearing.

“I’m just looking forward to going in there and seeing what happens,” she said.

The public hearing will be held in the Graham Kenan Courtroom at the School of Law. Womack said it will likely last between 45 minutes and one hour.

The case holding up the release of the results of the UCommons referendum to renovate the Student Union has also been delayed. Briefs are due from both parties on Tuesday.

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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