Judicial council to rule on election violations today

Lashana Harney

The Student Government Association Judicial Council will decide the fate of Glasgow sophomore and President-elect Jay Todd Richey by the end of today.

The meeting will take place in the SGA senate chambers at 4 p.m. Currently, three election code appeals stand to be discussed.

The first appeal was filed April 1 by an anonymous source stating Richey violated election code 3.4.6: “There shall be no campaign material distributed into or onto doors or doorways on campus.” The source said they had photographic proof of campaign materials placed on doors within academic buildings on campus, such as the Thompson Complex. The anonymous source called for Richey’s disqualification as president.

Two more election appeals were filed April 8. 

One of the appeals, submitted by SGA senator Zach Jones, questions the validity and legality of election code 3.4.6. 

Richey said he was delighted SGA senators were speaking out against the corrupted election codes. 

“I was happy to see that Student Government is trying to tackle broken election codes as they are written and so we can fix them for next year,” he said.

Another anonymous source claimed Richey violated code 3.4.13, “All candidates shall remove all campaign material from university property no later than five (5) days after election.” Attached to the request were eight photos showing Richey’s campaign materials hanging up on South Campus. This source also called for Richey’s disqualification. 

Richey said this appeal was simply absurd. 

“There is plenty of evidence that other candidates’ posters were on campus way after the appeal was turned in,” he said. “Even leading up to yesterday, some students spotted other candidates’ posters.” 

Richey said the appeals are either attacks or attempts to replace his position as President-elect with another candidate. 

“It’s clearly not someone who is concerned with the election codes and making sure that no candidates break the rules,” Richey said. “If that was the case then more candidates would have been appealed against.” 

However, Richey said if it’s an attack, it is most likely on his ideas rather than a personal attack or an attack on his character. 

“Someone does not want my presence in student government as well as Board of Regents because whether students realize it or not the student regent has a great say in the decisions that our university makes,” Richey said. “You can either have a student regent that abdicates their power or one that uses it on behalf of the student body and because I am a proponent of the latter, maybe, some feel as though that is a threat.”

Richey said the appeals may just be someone stirring the pot.

“This could be just some person that is trying to cause drama for the sake of drama,” Richey said.

Regardless, Richey said he is prepared to defend his actions and make his case.

“I want to emphasize that I believe that there is a degree of severity and election codes make it very clear that an infraction of the rules may result in disqualification,” Richey said. “The word ‘may’ implies that there is a degree of severity of what would merit disqualification or not. So my main argument and my plan to say that there is no way that a single poster could sway 350 votes in my favor.” 

Both Jones and the anonymous requesters will also have the opportunity to speak on behalf of their appeals. The meeting will be open to the public and students will be given the option to speak at the beginning of the meeting.

If Richey is disqualified, Brian Chism—who lost the initial election— would gain the presidency.

“If I am disqualified tomorrow I will be beyond shocked,” Richey said. “Simply because this is a matter that is left up to the judicial branch – no one has a say but the judicial branch – and they have the power to decide if a single misplaced poster merits disqualification for a candidate that accumulated 874 votes.” 

In a letter to the Justice Council sent last week, SGA Chief of Staff Seth Church expressed similar thoughts.

“In this election, the winner, Jay Todd Richey, took 63%,” he wrote. “I find it hard to believe that a small number of improperly displayed posters, only one if I am not mistaken, were enough to convince 350 WKU students to vote one way or the other.”

The Judicial Council is expected to come to a decision tonight.

“I look forward to putting all of this behind us and serving the student body,” Richey said.