Weber State University student body president Andrew Gardiner announced today in the WSU Student Association student senate meeting that there will not be a recall election for the 2013-14 student body president and the results of last week’s election will stand.
Service vice president Julia Saxton’s appeal to the WSUSA Supreme Court only grieved the Elections Committee’s insufficient number of members as dictated by the WSUSA constitution and not the election results.
The WSUSA executive branch’s press release outlining their decision not to hold a recall election states that since this is the case, the court certified the original results of the presidential election and thus they will stand as valid.
Current traditional student senator David Wilson won the election with a count of 631 votes at 40.95 percent of the popular votes. Saxton received 431 votes at 27.53 percent. Stuart Call received 269 votes at 17.8 percent. Aaron Burgin received 160 votes with 10 percent. There were 52 abstaining votes at 3.32 percent.
The executives’ decision also cites the fact that the legislative branch of WSUSA is responsible for creating legislation that dictates the time, place and manner of the WSUSA elections and the fact that there is not currently any legislation that outlines the processes for recall elections as a reason to let last week’s results stand.
“All of us together, the executive, legislative and judicial branches rely on a lot of vague instructions in the constitution that needs to be fixed, but we feel like doing a recall election would just confuse the process more,” Gardiner said.
In an interview after the senate meeting, Gardiner said he recognized the court’s recommendation, but after further consideration, contemplation and talking to members of the WSU community, he felt it was best to move forward with the final results and not do a recall.
“The executive branch oversees elections, but that power is vested in the president, so it’s my purview to either accept the recommendation or execute something else,” Gardiner said.
He said he made his decision over the weekend, but met with the vice presidents on Monday to discuss it.
“I have the final say, and I didn’t need to bring my execs together, but I did because I wanted to get their opinion on what was going on and to consult with them because they’re my team,” Gardiner said. “We felt, as a group, unanimously, that it was better to take this route.”
WSUSA legislative vice president Brady Harris clarified the decision after Gardiner read it in the senate meeting.
“The supreme court cannot issue legislation from the bench; they can only issue an opinion to the executive branch,” he said.
The executives’ decision issued a directive for the co-chairs of the Elections Committee, College of Education senator Kimmy Tribe and WSU Honors and Bachelor of Integrated Science senator Matt Glover, to immediately appoint four additional students to the committee. No less than three of these students must come from outside of the senate.
The decision also advised the senate to thoughtfully deliberate and evaluate the WSUSA election policies to rectify the issues that have arisen this year.
“It’s not the candidates,” Gardiner said. “It’s the process. It needed to be fixed and now the senate is charged with a lot of work to do and they’ll get it done and this won’t happen again.”
Sarah Kortkamp, associate justice on the WSUSA Supreme Court, spoke at the meeting as well to give the court’s perspective on the election process and the executives’ decision.
“We are bound by the constitution, but the election rules and by the bylaws to rule on appeals within 24 hours of receiving them, and we were coming up against deadline, and we were also coming up against the fact that at 9 o’clock that evening we were supposed to announce something,” she said. “I didn’t want to stand up there and say that we don’t know what to tell you. So we framed our opinion in the form of a recommendation of what seemed to us the best way to resolve a difficult situation.”