Two weeks ago, we learned that there were some discouraging irregularities during the student fees vote at St. Cloud State. That was only the start of things. Later that weekend, St. Cloud State put out this wierd-looking press release:
At the time, I questioned how the administration would know that the referendum had passed but it didn’t have the final vote count. Further, clicking on the links brought me to blank pages. As unsettling as that information is, that’s just the beginning. This article takes things to another level:
In a press release from Student Government, the decision to investigate the results came when members of Student Government saw reason to invalidate a portion of the ballot items based on claims of inappropriate campaigning behavior within proximity of the polling place.
Currently the results have not been validated by the Judicial Council as there are not enough members on the council to validate the results, with one member being terminated and another stepping down. The impact of these results will not be felt until the next academic year.
That there aren’t enough members on the Judicial Council is odd enough but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s additional information on why the Judicial Council is short members:
With one member being terminated and another stepping down, the Judicial Council is unable to validate the results as there are not enough members on the council to do so.
Those members are Courtney Downing, Minnesota State University Student Association representative, SG parliamentarian and SG Constitution representative, and Chief Justice of the Judicial Committee and SG chair Devon Bowker.
I’m confident that people are shaking their heads in disbelief at what’s happening. Fasten those seatbelts because we’re just starting. Check this out:
Downing was made aware that students were allegedly soliciting votes at voting stands. Solicitation during voting is legal, but must be done at least 50 feet away from stands.
If this was true the voting results could possibly be considered invalid.
“We were looking for any written documentation that would have been used to invalidate any of the elections,” Petersen said. “We had no written documentation to invalidate any portion.”
Downing claims to have witnessed this personally.
In an open statement at the Dec. 12 SG meeting she spoke of a meeting between Petersen, herself and Vice President of Student Life and Development Wanda Overland.
“When I got to her office she brought in Eric Petersen, and the two of them began accusing me of tampering with the elections results, and informed me that any case we tried to make against Athletics was invalid because it did not follow the schedule timeline that neither the chief justice or I were made aware of on the due dates of the Judicial cases,” Downing said. “Then they got on the topic of my own moral and ethical standard causing a problem and then spoke of the chief justice and myself being part of a group to take down Athletics.”
That’s proof that a little paranoia goes a long way. It isn’t just that Petersen and Overland attempted to intimidate Ms. Downing. It’s that their accusation is without merit. According to SCSU’s balance sheet posted on the MnSCU website, SCSU made almost $500,000 last year. If Question 1 doesn’t pass, that means the SCSU Athletic Department would be about $10,000 in the red.
It isn’t credible to say that a student could take down the SCSU Athletic Department when, at worst, it’s losing $10,000 a year. Put a different way, it’s a BS accusation. What makes it rich is that Overland and Petersen accused Ms. Downing of having “no written documentation” of the things she witnessed personally. It’s incredible that they’d accuse her of not having documentation when their accusation is refuted by MnSCU documentation.
Bullying a student is bad enough. Bullying a student with faulty information is worse. In light of this information, I’d like to apologize to Chicago. As awful as their elections are, they could learn from St. Cloud State.
Technorati: Wanda Overland, Eric Petersen, Chicago-Style Politics, Student Athletes, Student Fees, Electioneering, Athletic Department, Bullying, Accusations, Election Corruption, Courtney Downing, St. Cloud State Budget, Balance Sheet, Election Integrity