The Elections Board voted 5-0 against allowing Sania Chandrani (19B) to declare her candidacy for Student Government Association (SGA) president after she missed the March 18 registration deadline, according to Chair of the Elections Board Betty Zhang (20C).
The Elections Board has already permitted Mario Karras (17Ox, 19B), Radhika Kadakia (20C) and Karen Lee (21C) to declare their candidacies late, but the Board decided against Chandrani because she did not promptly contact the Board after receiving an expired declaration form, Zhang said.
Chandrani, a double major in business administration and political science, emailed the Elections Board on March 1 to ask if she could run for an elected College Council (CC) position. Chandrani told the Wheel that she had planned to run for CC president. Zhang told Chandrani on March 4 that she was eligible to run for CC positions, but notified her on March 16 that she was actually ineligible to run for any CC position because she is enrolled in both the College and Goizueta Business School, according to Zhang.
“We realized we don’t know enough rules, so we went to consult SGA and CC,” Zhang told the Wheel.
SGA told the Board that the Student Activity Fee (SAF) for all Business School students is distributed only to students in the Business School, regardless of a second major in the College. Therefore, any student in the Business School would be considered a Business School student and ineligible for CC office, according to a March 16 email from Zhang to Chandrani.
After Zhang notified Chandrani about her ineligibility, Chandrani emailed the Board on March 19, the day after the registration deadline, that she wanted to run for SGA president instead. Zhang sent Chandrani the Google form to register her candidacy on the same day, but the form did not accept new submissions because it automatically closed after the March 18 deadline.
Chandrani contacted Zhang again on March 22 to explain that the declaration form did not work. Zhang said that she would have reopened the form for Chandrani if she had contacted her shortly after receiving the declaration form link, but because Chandrani did not immediately contact her, Zhang said she believes the Board is justified in denying her candidacy.
Chandrani said that she had believed her March 19 email to the Board counted as an official declaration after seeing that the form was closed. She had contacted the Wheel on March 22 because she had not been invited to the Wheel debates and thought that she was registered as an SGA presidential candidate. However, when the Wheel tried to verify her candidacy, Zhang told the Wheel that Chandrani had not declared to run for SGA president.
Chandrani, who currently serves on CC as vice president of student affairs, said that she was “frustrated” with the decision, but she still aims to serve the Emory community to the best of her ability.
“Obviously, I’m frustrated,” Chandrani said. “It will be a little bit more challenging to make the changes that I want to make without the platform of these offices … but I still plan to do whatever I can in other ways.”
Zhang told the Wheel that that she stands by the Board’s decision.
“We believe the Board did nothing wrong in providing her with the necessary information,” Zhang wrote in an email to the Wheel. “Yes, she misunderstood, but she could have reached out and asked.”