Cash Knight has been elected to serve as next year’s Weber State University student body president after winning 47 percent of the 1,777 votes cast.
However, the WSUSA executive elections ended in an afternoon of drama Saturday as one of the vice presidential races was overturned, and then the newly elected candidate was declared ineligible.
Knight accepted his victory Friday night between performances at Weber’s Got Talent.
“I had so much support,” Knight said after his win was revealed. “It’s humbling, inspiring and about to bring a college football player to tears.”
Knight and two vice president candidates, Kyle Froerer and Gregory Woodfield, were penalized seven votes for grievances that had been filed earlier in the week, and the almost daily change in the status of the penalty resulted in incorrect results Friday night in Froerer’s race.
Froerer had run for activities vice president against Amina Khan.
Froerer, Knight and Woodfield had been found in violation of campaign rules for campaign materials that were distributed under doors in Wasatch Hall.
The Elections Committee ruled on Tuesday that while there had been a violation, no penalty would be levied, a decision that was appealed to the WSUSA Supreme Court. The student court overturned that decision and docked each of the three 48 votes, but then sent the case back to the Elections Committee to decide on a suitable penalty. The committee on Thursday evening decided the penalty would be seven votes each.
Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Aaron Newman said he made a mistake in the spreadsheet that calculated the final results, and Froerer was docked 28 votes instead of seven. That left him three votes behind Khan on Friday night.
“At Kyle’s request, the committee went back and looked at the numbers again,” Newman said.
The new results of the election showed that Froerer won the election by 19 votes, making him the new vice president of activities.
Minutes after the committee declared Froerer the winner, Khan challenged his eligibility to run for an executive position. Election rules require candidates for executive positions be in student government for two semesters, and Froerer did not begin in his position until last October.
The WSUSA Supreme Court unanimously ruled Froerer ineligible about an hour later.
“The end result is that Kyle Froerer was not a legitimate candidate per the bylaws of WSUSA,” current Student Body President Joe Favero said Saturday afternoon.
Calls to both Froerer and Khan Saturday afternoon and evening were not returned.
Favero said that this is a rare situation that is not easy for either sides.
Questions about Froerer’s eligibility had been raised earlier, Favero said, but no formal challenge had been filed. “I guess it didn’t become real until threatened to lose that position,” he said.
Favero said no candidate has ever been removed from the election this late in the process.
The Supreme Court will file an official report on Monday that will share its ruling for this case.
In other races, Woodfield beat Marissa Questereit and Jazmine Gruber Allen for clubs and organization vice president; Bryson Bohman led Paige Kunzler and Kami May to win leadership vice president; and Cody Brown outpaced Juhi Dubal for diversity vice president.
The following candidates were elected unopposed: Senate President/Legislative Vice President Jeffrey Henry, Davis Campus Vice President Natalie Barcelo and Service Vice President Kasey Call.
The turnout of 1,777 was about a third more than last year.
The student elections were not the only competition coming to a head Friday night. About 200 students and family members gathered in the Shepherd Union ballrooms also watched 10 talents perform for Weber’s Got Talent.
Comedian Arvin Mitchell emceed the talent show, which varied from musical acts to the creation of balloon animals.
WSU Professors Sheldon Cheshire, David Feller and Sarah Vause judged the performances and declared the first, second and third place winners–results that were not hotly contested.
Winning first place and the grand prize of $500 were Mike and Scott Harvey. Their musical cover of Charlie XCX’s “Boom Clap” captivated the judges and audience members.
“I thought that they would win first place,” student Chakell Wardleigh said. “They got the crowd clapping along to their song and it was just a really nice performance.”
Taking second place and a $300 prize was beatboxer Orlando Sanchez.
After Sanchez’s performance, Cheshire said he thought mouths were used for eating and kissing and thought he might be underutilizing his own mouth.
Coming in third place and receiving a $200 prize was singer and guitarist Lauren McCormick.
“I saw the sign for the show and thought it would be fun to enter,” McCormick said. “It feels amazing to be a winner. I can’t believe it.”
McCormick’s roommate Hailey Campbell came to support her singing performance.
“She did amazing,” Campbell said. “Her performance was my favorite.”
Among the remaining seven acts of talent, four were musical performances.
C.J. Hsieh sang a rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Grenade.”
“I didn’t know if I could ever hear the song ‘Grenade’ again after my son listened to it about 500 times,” Vause said. “But I loved your arrangement of it.”
Jaden Gregory performed Adele’s “One and Only” and Caralee Wallentine sang a jazz piece.
A musical group formed by Tessa Diamond, David Wilson and Courtney Woodfield also participated in the talent show. Diamond sang as Wilson strummed the guitar and Woodfield played the violin.
The crowd cheered during Amr Abu Eloun’s freestyle dancing performance.
Rebecca Bateman demonstrated her talent of making balloon animals and Matthew Jackson gave his performance with Astrojax.
“I really thought there was a lot of interesting talents,” Wardleigh said. “It’s cool to see all the hidden talent that Weber State students have.”