Nexus Slate Eliminated from Election

All eight Thurgood Marshall College Student Council candidates on the Nexus slate were disqualified Wednesday from the Marshall College Student Council and A.S. elections for violating of posting and solicitation policies.

A.S. junior senator candidate Amy Eisel, TMCSC chair candidate Adam Lawrence Sherry, vice chair candidate Brent Nibecker, director of finance candidate Mike Afshar, director of communications candidate Michael Scarpelli, director of public relations candidate Steven Vu, and student at large candidates Jenifer Crawford and Jane Coffee were the students disqualified from this week’s elections.

Marshall college director of programming candidate Jennifer Kim had already withdrawn her candidacy when allegations were made.

The disqualification leaves all TMCSC position candidates running unopposed.

The Thurgood Marshall College Rules/Elections Committee met April 10 to hand down the decision. Five of the seven members of the rules committee eligible to vote on the issue were present.

The rules committee found the Nexus slate guilty of 67 posting policy violations. The posting violations, considered to be the first violation, were reported April 4 by Assistant Residence Dean Mitchelle Greenlee, who lives on campus.

Members of the slate were found guilty of posting more than 10 fliers, a violation of the Marshall college constitution. They were also found guilty of posting fliers in locations not approved for posting. Additionally, they were found guilty of posting fliers with Residential Life stamps photocopied, another violation of posting policy.

The Marshall college constitution states, “”Upon the second violation for a [slate] decided by the rules committee, the candidate is disqualified.””

The second violation was brought to the attention of the rules committee Monday, also by Greenlee. The Nexus slate was also accused of “”dorm storming,”” which is distributing material and campaigning in the residence halls and on-campus apartments.

Members of the Nexus slate said they placed printed materials on doorsteps of the Marshall Upper apartments and that they visited the suites of people they knew in the residence halls.

“”We didn’t actually go in and talk to anyone we didn’t know,”” Scarpelli said. “”If we had known dorm storming was blatantly illegal, we wouldn’t have done it.””

Sherry also said that the slate members didn’t know that what they were doing was wrong.

“”We explained clearly [to the rules committee] that we didn’t know that it was against policy,”” she said.

Since the slate was found in violation of these rules, the case was taken to the rules committee by Marshall College Elections Manager Tricia Piers.

“”As soon as it was determined that they had committed in excess of two violations, they were disqualified in accordance to the constitution,”” she said.

The eight candidates found guilty of the violations were each sentenced to 15 hours of community service and an ethics workshop by Marshall College Dean Ashanti Houston Hands.

Members of the Nexus slate said they dispute the decision of the rules committee because two nonvoting members, TMCSC Chair Emiko Burchill and TMCSC Rules Committee Chair Michelle Law, had approached Nibecker April 6 about literature the slate posted legally.

These members approached the slate for their own personal reasons, Piers said.

“”In [Burchill and Law’s] opinions, some of the material posted on the Nexus fliers was slanderous to current committee members,”” Piers said.

Members of the slate felt that their presence at the meeting was a conflict of interest.

“”In general, Marshall Council had expressed discontent about our campaign and the way that we called them into question,”” Nibecker said. “”It’s like having the victim of attack be the judge and jury.””

Piers said she disagreed that this was a factor in the decision.

“”The meeting we had was 100 percent unbiased, and the decision [the committee] made was strictly based on the constitution,”” she said.

In addition, Marshall College Residence Life policies do not fall directly in line with the elections policies of the A.S. Council. The candidates were given copies of both sets of rules.

“”There was a lot of confusion over when you follow A.S.’s rules and when you follow Marshall’s,”” Scarpelli said.

Piers said she regrets the timing of the rule discrepancy.

“”I don’t know how many years these sets of rules have existed, contradicting each other,”” Piers said. “”It’s unfortunate that this had to come up during election week. We had to make do with two sets of rules.””

Allegations of policy violation were also brought against the Marshall Posse, the other Marshall college slate whose candidates are now all running unopposed.

Members of the Nexus slate and another student accused the Marshall Posse of five posting violations, Piers said. Four of the accusations were declared invalid by the rules committee.

Another allegation that the Marshall Posse used a photocopied stamp was heard by the committee.

The Marshall Posse slate was found innocent of any violation.

“”For various reasons, there was not enough evidence linking Marshall Posse to the violation,”” Piers said.

The Nexus slate members appealed the decision to A.S. Elections Manager Vince Vasquez and to Piers.

Vasquez said he had no jurisdiction over the issue.

“”They appealed to me, asking that we look again at the allegations against the Marshall Posse,”” Piers said. “”However, the rules committee’s decision is final.””

The members of the Nexus slate are not happy with this.

“”This college is so hyped up on diversity, and they went to great lengths to deny students diversity of choice in this election,”” Sherry said.

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