The integrity of the fall 2022 Student Government Association (SGA) election has been called into question by multiple members of SGA. During the election, Kennedy Holt was listed on the ballot on Sept. 17 and was elected SGA president.
The standard process for being placed on the election ballot for the position of SGA president requires signatures from fellow students, attendance at the mandatory pre-election meeting and delivery of a candidate speech. According to SGA guidelines and its constitution, these mandatory procedures can only be excused if a member has a class obligation. Multiple members of SGA alleged that Holt failed to comply with these regulations in the fall 2022 election.
According to several SGA representatives, Holt failed to complete the petition on time and in the proper format. The petitions for the fall 2022 election were due to the Fiscal Office on Sept. 2. However, when Rangeline DeJesus, student trustee and the election committee chair, went to collect the petitions the following week, Holt’s was not found. Holt alleged that she turned in her petition on the day it was due and that the form was filled out appropriately.
Normally the petitions are turned into Lisa Laughlin, the SGA administrative secretary, on their due date, but she was out of the office on Sept. 2. Instead, Kay Stottlemyer, the fiscal office accountant, received the petitions, and she said she could not recall if she received Holt’s original petition.
“It was the beginning of the school year, and I did not know most of the students that brought the petitions in,” Stottlemyer said. The petitions were then collected, but not before Stottlemyer offered students copies of their petitions.
“I offered each student a copy of the signed form, but not all students took them,” Stottlemyer said.
Because the petition was not found, Holt did not receive communication regarding the pre-election meeting and failed to be present.
After reporting that her document was lost, Holt was granted an extension to turn in the petition on Sept. 12. However, according to DeJesus, the second document was allegedly turned in with incorrect formatting. Although, when asked, Holt claimed,“Yes, it was filled out appropriately.”
There is no record of these petitions, as they are thrown out after the election.
Additionally, Holt was not in attendance for the mandatory candidate speeches, though she told the elections committee chair that she had a “class presentation” that excused her from giving a speech at that time. After her absence from the speeches, DeJesus was informed that Holt’s presentation was not a class requirement, but instead, an organizational presentation.
Holt explained that after the disagreement regarding her excusal with DeJesus, “We were transparent with one another; however, after our meeting we discussed and resolved said issues and we decided it was a form of miscommunication and lack of understanding.”
Due to these failures to act, according to SGA election guidelines, Holt’s name should not have appeared on the ballot unless accommodations were made by the election committee chair. In the end, Holt was listed on the ballot and she won the election by majority on Sept. 22.
“No other candidates contested the election as outlined in the election rules. Because of this, the election decision is final and upheld to all standards,” DeJesus wrote in a statement.
During the election, an SGA representative brought up concerns about the election’s integrity, although the concerns were not further investigated until after the election was finalized. Holt finds it “a little weird” that this is all being brought up now, months after the election. Holt currently remains as SGA president, and SGA will resume its public meetings next semester.