SGA president and VP announced, Taylor’s appeal partially denied


Brooke Sotelo

Riley Owens, SGA president-elect, and Dustin Thibideau, vice president-elect, speak to student organizations about their plans for the 2018-19 academic year.

The SGA president and vice president for the 2018-19 academic year were announced to be Riley Owens and Dustin Thibideau, respectively, at the 2018 Student Recognition Banquet on April 13.

The ballot was sent via email on April 3 and the voting period closed on April 10 at 7 p.m. In order for students to vote for their college’s senator, they had to vote for Owens, current SGA chief of staff and junior communication major, and Thibideau, current CHESS senator in Hammond and junior communication major, who were the only candidates on the ballot for president and vice president.

During Owens’ acceptance speech at the banquet, he said transparency is one of his goals for next year. Owens also mentioned that one of his main focuses will be access codes.

“We are looking into a resolution where students don’t have to buy an access code to complete their homework. Homework should be free and not cost students any more money,” Owens said.

Owens emphasized the equal campus representation in SGA’s new leadership because he is from Westville and Thibideau is from Hammond. Thibideau said he appreciates the opportunity to serve the students and hopes to make great changes for them.

“We are here to listen to you when you have concerns. We are here for all of you. I want to make sure that everyone here has a better experience at PNW,” Thibideau said. “Some things don’t change overnight and take time, but it is best to still come to us.”

The following SGA senators ran unopposed:
• Pulkit Singhal, College of Technology senator in Hammond
• Kevin Calderone, College of Business senator in Hammond
• James Schooley, CHESS senator in Westville
• Megan Carden, College of Technology senator in Westville

Robert Rodriguez was sworn in as College of Nursing senator in Westville via appointment at the April 13 SGA meeting.

The following seats remain open:

• College of Nursing senator in Hammond
• Honors College senator in Hammond
• College of Engineering and Sciences senator in Westville
• College of Business senator in Westville

The results for CHESS senator in Hammond, between Matthew Ruiz and Kristen Bright, and College of Engineering and Sciences senator in Hammond between Ronit Bhardwaj and Autumn Bright, are expected to be released via email on April 16.

Earlier on April 13 at the Faculty Senate meeting, James Schooley, member of the SGA Appeals Committee and current CHESS senator in Westville, gave a timeline of the events of elections week. The election was suspended so the Elections Committee could determine whether Eric Taylor, candidate for SGA president, had violated posting policies. His appeal was partially denied, according to Schooley.

“The SGA elections have been through a fiasco. There were a number of difficulties in the course of a couple of months with functionality,” Schooley said. “We should have done a better job of keeping everyone on the same page. We are working on transparency for SGA.”

Taylor confirmed that his appeal for the charge of Elections Code Section IX C.2: Posting slanderous material was approved, but his appeal regarding Elections Codes Section VI B: Placing material in excess, G: Excessive posting of flyers and J: Obscuring another candidate’s materials was denied.

“I would like to reiterate my argument that the minor violations are attributed to students outside of my campaign circle who were posting flyers and leaving them in unapproved locations without my knowledge, consent or approval,” Taylor said. “I am baffled that this may not have been thoroughly evaluated by the committee reviewing my case.”

Taylor is referring to Elections Code Section V C which states, “Candidates will be held responsible for the actions of those designated by the candidates to assist with the campaign.” He said the decision is contradictory as neither he nor his campaign personnel were involved.

Members of the SGA Rules and Internal Affairs Committee; Daquan Williams, SGA current president; and Meg Rincker, SGA’s faculty adviser, did not immediately respond for comment.