By Graig Graziosi
A flash flood of school pride, team colors, sidewalk chalk and rock painting overtook Youngstown State University campus last week as the annual Student Government Association elections were underway. Votes were cast and counted, but those results have yet to be revealed to the student body.
As reported by The Jambar shortly after the election, the initial pothole hit by the elections process was the filing of grievances concerning actions taken during the campaign. Both parties have said they believe all grievances were filed against the Ashley Orr and Jacob Schriner-Briggs ticket.
Grievances are formal complaints intended to point out violations of the SGA election bylaws and can be filed by any student, faculty or staff member at YSU. The bylaws concerning election campaigns include regulations on where campaigning can occur, what kind of language can be used in campaigns and how soon campaigning can begin.
The SGA elections board examines the legitimacy of these grievances and, if they deem necessary, schedules a hearing to decide on punitive measures for the involved tickets.
In the SGA elections last spring, six grievances were filed — five against Max Gocala and one against current SGA President Michael Slavens. After review by the elections board, Slavens’ ticket was docked 5 percent of their votes and Gocala’s ticket was docked a total of 4 percent of their votes.
As of the printing of this article, neither of the tickets has been contacted to attend a hearing concerning the grievances. Until the grievances are addressed in a hearing — likely resulting in the docking of votes from the offending party should the grievances be upheld — the results of the elections cannot be disclosed to the students.
The Jambar reached out to the elections board for a list of the filed grievances, but was denied access by vote of the election board.
While review of the grievances has contributed to the lack of closure on the election, it is not the only anchor weighing down a decision.
Slavens said he believes an inexperienced and fully student-run elections board may play a part in the delay.
“According to my understanding the communication between the elections board is kind of tough due to some individuals not meshing … and from my understanding, it’s tough because there’s no one there to guide things. They’re all new. The advisers don’t think they should get too involved, so [the elections board members] don’t have anyone pushing them along,” Slavens said.
While no official word has come down as to whether or not any punitive measures will be taken in regards to the grievances, both Slavens and SGA’s faculty advisers are calling for an end to vote reductions being used as punishments.
“We didn’t like the idea of being able to take away votes … the advisers and those of us that talked about it wanted to try and make sure that [vote docking] was avoided at all costs,” Slavens said.
As a full week has passed since ballots were cast, SGA presidential candidates Ashley Orr and Nick Chretien continue to wait for any word on the results of their campaign.
Chretien, whose campaign filed grievances against the Orr/Schriner-Briggs ticket, said he believes waiting is the only action left to take.
“Obviously we’d like to know [election results] sooner rather than later, but we’re being patient. It’s out of our hands,” Chretien said. “We don’t want to see votes taken away … but it’s also out of our hands, and it’s up to the elections board to decide.”
Orr disagrees with vote docking by the elections board, but has said she is more concerned with getting back to her work than arguing with the board.
“The votes are the students voicing who they want to represent them and by taking away votes, sure you are penalizing the ticket that is running, but you are taking away student voices,” Orr said. “Everyday we don’t know the results is like a day lost that I could be serving the students. If I am the president of SGA, then I want to hit the ground running the minute I know that with planning for things next years or even just creating relationships with community, administration and students.”