Elections Board Accepts Challenge Against Singh-Armstrong Campaign

A College senior issued a formal challenge to the Elections Board via email March 25 at 12:24 a.m. against two candidates running for top student government positions.

David Joannides (17C), who said he does not know any of the Student Government Association (SGA) candidates, challenged “the legitimacy of the candidacy of Gurbani Singh and Natasha Armstrong on the basis of violation of the Honor Code and its prohibition of plagiarism,” according to the formal complaint. Singh (18B), who is the SGA executive vice president, and Armstrong (18B), who is SGA representative-at-large, are running on a party ticket for SGA president and executive vice president, respectively.

Joannides’ written complaint cited a March 23 Wheel article about Armstrong lifting verbatim 42 percent of her 2017 platform from her running mate Singh’s 2016 platform for SGA executive vice president.

During the election period, all candidates must follow the University Elections Code, which mandates they follow University policy, Conduct Code and Honor Code guidelines, according to University Elections Code Part V, Article 3, Section 2 (J).

The Elections Board decided to accept the challenge early Saturday night, according to Elections Board Chair Betty Zhang (20C).

“It is imperative to me that people who violate the Honor Code not be entrusted with student money,” Joannides wrote.

SGA Vice President of Finance Jason Yu (17B) estimates that SGA’s total budget is about $1.43 million before it is disbursed to the divisional councils.

Zhang said that the Elections Board felt that Joannides’ complaint regarding the Honor Code violation merited the Board’s consideration and that the Board has decided to proceed with the challenge process. 

Any student who is eligible to vote in the election may challenge a candidate’s campaign, according to Part VII, Article 1 of the University Elections Code. Should the Elections Board determine a violation occurred, the Elections Board may issue a fine, disqualify a candidate from the election, call a new election, issue community service or refer the case to another council such as the Constitutional Council, the Elections Code Part VII, Article 1, Section 2 reads.

The Board will decide the hearing date by Monday evening, but Zhang does not expect the hearing to impact the election timeline, Zhang said. Voting for SGA elections begins Tuesday at 8 p.m.

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