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Thursday May 13th

Student Congress questions recordings in SBP hearings

<p>Board of Elections chairperson Paul Kushner answers questions from Student Congress representatives about his point allocation decisions for the student body president election hearings. </p>
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Board of Elections chairperson Paul Kushner answers questions from Student Congress representatives about his point allocation decisions for the student body president election hearings.

“How do you treat bias when in one of the recordings, you called two candidates 5-year-olds, especially before you’d heard them in their disqualification hearings?” said Rachel Augustine, a first-year member of Student Congress.

As BOE chairperson, Kushner has led the team that made the decisions and point allocations against student body president candidates.

“I would say that my own personal feelings — wherever they are — are put at the door when I go in there,” Kushner said.

Katharine Shriver, ethics committee chairperson, asked Kushner why the BOE gave Matthew McKnight three points for failing to put the “Sponsored by … ” message on his social media sites and only gave Elizabeth Adkins one point for the same offense.

Kushner said because McKnight lacked the “Sponsored by ... ” message on his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and Adkins only lacked the message on one campaigning site, they received different numbers of points.

Kushner said the two disqualified candidates — Joe Nail and McKnight — were primarily given points for falsification violations for misrepresentation to the BOE, whereas Grier and Adkins were mainly charged with false start and technology violations.

In the phone calls Grier recorded, Kushner explained questions about the BOE to Grier. Kushner said Grier called him and he would have done the same for any other candidate or Student Congress representative who asked.

“I was upset because I think the behavior of recording people without their knowledge and then presenting those recordings as evidence to an official facet of student government is entirely unbecoming of someone we’d want representing the school,” said Tarik Woods, a first-year Student Congress representative who filed a reprimand against Grier Monday afternoon and revoked it later that evening.

Woods said he wants to edit the reprimand again and file it after spring break.

Cole Simons, speaker of Student Congress, said Congress might create a special committee in the near future to write new laws about elections so they run smoother.

“Congress thought we had finished our role in the actual running of the election until the recordings came out last Friday and then at that point, we felt we had to step in and ask questions about it and that’s what you saw tonight,” Simons said.

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