Public Report on Challenges in Student-Elected Trustee, Spring 2019 Elections
Date: 16 April 2019
To: Campus community
From: Bruce Lewenstein, for the Trustee Nominating Committee
Re: Report on Challenges in the Spring 2019 Student-Elected Trustee Election
An election for the undergraduate Student-Elected Trustee was held 25-27 March 2019. The rules for the election state that the Trustee Nominating Committee will release a final, public report identifying all violations substantiated and any decisions to disqualify challenged candidates.
Two challenges were received against Alex Chalgren. In addition, Chalgren failed to submit a complete and substantiated expense report as required by the rules. The Committee disqualified Chalgren for failing to submit the expense report, making the other two challenges moot.
Five challenges were received against JT Baker, covering three incidents. Challenges related to two of the incidents failed to be substantiated on a preponderance of the evidence, not meeting the required two-thirds vote of the Committee, and were dismissed.
The final challenge involved two e-mails (one to athletes, one to coaches) circulated by staff of the Athletics Department. The Challenges alleged that these e-mails violated the rule prohibiting situations where an implicit condition for affiliation with a group compelled support, §II.1.9. During the pre-election period, JT Baker requested clarification of how the rules applied to social media posts; in response, the Committee issued a memo to all candidates regarding support by teams and academic units specifically linking the issue to §II.1.9, and including the principle that “No official university unit should take any actions that can be perceived as endorsements or as giving unfair advantage to any candidates.”
The Committee voted unanimously that the e-mail to athletes was a violation based on the preponderance of evidence. The Committee then decided, as required by the rules, that the violation altered the fairness of the election to the extent that the candidate should be disqualified.
The Committee vote on the e-mail to coaches met the two-thirds standard required for finding a violation based on the preponderance of evidence. The Committee vote on whether the violation altered the fairness of the election failed to pass the two-thirds standard.
The Committee further found, by a vote of 7-0-1, that JT Baker had not notified the Committee of the potential violation in a timely way, as required by rule §II.1.3. This finding was also found on a vote of 6-1-1 to have altered the fairness of the election to the extent that JT Baker should be disqualified.
On the basis of these findings, the Committee disqualified JT Baker as a candidate in the Spring 2019 Student-Elected Trustee election.