Santa Rosa Junior College officials found multiple election code violations by both the Justice League and Rebel Alliance slates of student government and are requiring a new election, according to Ellen Maremont Silver, director of communication and marketing, in a press release.
With President Dr. Frank Chong’s endorsement, Vice President of Student Services Ricardo Navarrette decided to re-administer the election for all positions except for the student trustee, who ran unopposed and was unaffiliated with a slate.
SRJC officials in their review found irregularities that may have impacted the election results. “Both slates were found to be culpable of sufficient violations, per the Election Code, to be disqualified,” Silver said in the release. “In addition, some election protocols and code enforcement were not appropriately managed by SRJC staff.”
Navarrette also mentioned inappropriate management of election protocol and code enforcement have complicated matters. “In truth, we were simply not prepared to monitor the scope of tactics and antagonism that tainted the election campaigns,” he said in a staff-wide email.
In a response to the announcement of new elections, Rebel Alliance affiliate Joshua Pinaula expressed a list of his and his slate’s concerns.
“We do not see how a new election would change any election results, or how a new election will have any effect/rectify those past votes that may have been obtained in violation/unethically,” he said. “And it only benefits those who have been given violations because they can start again without any repercussions.”
Pinaula said a new election may tarnish SGA’s image and discourage involvement with student government. He also cited that with finals nearby and the lack of preparedness for a second election, it will feel rushed.
To mitigate their concerns, Pinaula said all Rebel Alliance members who are part of contested races have chosen to officially suspend their campaigns.
“If our actions have been deemed egregious enough to warrant disqualification by the Appeals Staff, we apologize for our actions, but we will accept the decision of the Appeals Staff and are willing to suspend the totality of our slate,” Pinaula said. “As student leaders, we understand and respect the codes that we created in order to govern the elections. We understand the responsibilities and high expectations of holding office.”
Navarrette said in the email that the SRJC community should model the ethics and civility of a democratic society.
“It is my view that the polemics of ideology, the intrigue of power and the genuine passion to lead have distorted the election process we just concluded,” he said. “Fortunately, we can describe this as a teaching moment and direct our students to reengage and seek the support of their fellow students in a fair election.”
The SRJC Student Affairs and Engagement Programs office will conduct the new election and define campaign parameters with the election coordinator, according to Silver’s press release. The new election will take place prior to the start of finals, which begin May 21.