Grievances filed in student congress elections

By Kay Nguyen

Grievances were filed last week against candidates in the Oakland University Student Congress election.

Vice presidential candidates Eric Sturgis and Brett McIsaac said they have lodged three formal complaints against Benjamin Eveslage and Elisa Malile, who are running on the same ticket for president and vice president, respectively.

Official campaigning began at noon last Monday, though candidates have been able to campaign through word-of-mouth since the beginning of the fall semester.

Both Sturgis and McIsaac said they have submitted formal complaints to the elections commissioner, per elections guidelines set forth in information packets given to each candidate.

Elections commissioner Christina Quigley said she could not comment on the allegations, adding that the documents were confidential.

“These issues have been brought up with us and we’ve addressed them,” Eveslage, the OUSC legislative affairs director, said. “In most situations, it was a miscommunication.”

Sturgis and McIsaac assert that the Eveslage/Malile ticket left campaign materials in the OUSC office and also used a printer located in the office for campaign purposes.

“We’re focused on what’s best for OU,” Sturgis, an OUSC legislator, said. “I have been around for four election cycles and never have I seen something this dirty.”

They also accused Eveslage and Malile of using campaign tactics that are not allowed.

The elections bylaws state that “no University Student Congress, Student Program Board or Center for Student Activities supplies or equipment may be used to produce any elections-related materials not produced by the Elections Commission.”

Eveslage said he spoke with both Quigley and Meaghan Walters, the organization’s adviser, about the grievances filed and fully explained what happened.

“It was an honest mistake and we addressed it,” Eveslage said of the allegations regarding campaign materials being present in the OUSC office. “The person (who made the error) was unaware of the rules and has admitted to it.”

No comment has been made by presidential candidates Shakita Billy, Tyler Glen and Tom Cruz. Sturgis said he felt Eveslage and Malile violated bylaws by “campaigning” at OUSC-sponsored events.

The events in question are European Night and an informational meeting about OU Day at the Capitol, an event Eveslage is responsible for.

According to Eveslage, he received prior permission from European Night organizers to speak for “about two minutes.”

Malile admitted she did pass out campaign materials at the informational meeting, but only after being approached by another student and said she did not “openly campaign while in the room.”

Ryan Rott, the fourth vice presidential candidate, is running on a ticket with Tyler Glen. He said he would not comment on the issues brought up by other candidates.

“We are just hoping for a fair campaign run by all,” Rott said.

Grievances may be filed by any OU student if a candidate “is perceived to have violated any of the University Student Congress Elections Guidelines.”

The grievance is then considered by the elections validation committee and  is reviewed during a validations committee meeting.

“Validations has their process and what has been announced must be proven,” Eveslage said.

It is unclear whether such a meeting has been held regarding these allegations.

“I don’t mean to sound obnoxious, but validations each previous year that I have been here is a joke,” McIsaac, who is  a junior, wrote in an e-mail.

As of press time, Sturgis and legislators Maria Willett and Ashley Marthen were also pushing for the impeachment of Eveslage from his current OUSC executive board position. Sturgis expressed their concerns to OUSC judiciary committee chair Darrell Boyd via an e-mail sent Tuesday afternoon.

Walters, Center for Student Activities director Jean Ann Miller and current president and vice president Brandon Gustafson and Amy Ring were made aware of these developments Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s my belief that anyone representing OUSC should hold themselves above the standards,” Sturgis, who is Billy’s running mate, said. “It’s disappointing to see any activity that would undermine the organization.”

Student services director McIsaac, who is Cruz’s running mate, was not involved with the initial impeachment charges, but said he felt they would be warranted if Eveslage was found to be in violation of bylaws.

He believes “it is up to the OUSC executive board members to serve as examples for the rest of the school.”


Editor’s Note: Legislator Eric Sturgis is no longer petitioning for  Eveslage’s impeachment as of Wednesday, March 16.