The Student Government Association (SGA) Elections Board temporarily suspended the executive board campaigns of Black Student Alliance (BSA) President Nicole Gullatt (20C) and External Vice President Timothy Richmond (20C) on April 18 following an investigation and hearing into alleged electoral misconduct.
The suspensions were lifted on Monday at 8 p.m. The voting period for the election opened Tuesday and will conclude on Thursday at 8 p.m.
The Elections Board voted in a 3-0 decision to temporarily suspend the campaigns of Gullatt and Richmond, who are running for BSA treasurer and president, respectively.
Gullatt and Richmond’s amendments would bar candidates who had previously resigned from the executive board from running for the offices of BSA president, executive vice president, secretary or treasurer. According to the temporary suspension decision, former BSA President Imani Brooks (20C) said these amendments would “render applicants who have already sent in their applications ineligible.”
Brooks also alleged that Richmond had campaigned before “applications were approved by the whole executive board.” The Board said that “evidence was presented to prove that Richmond started campaigning on March 22 before any applicants were approved by the BSA executive board, which is an unfair advantage stemming from unconstitutional power.”
Gullatt and Richmond were both found responsible for Tier II violations of the SGA Code of Elections. A Tier II violation is “reserved for cases that are relatively minor violations that nevertheless advance a candidate’s campaign unfairly,” according to the Elections Code. The ruling states that further violations will be considered Tier III offenses. A Tier III offense is “reserved for cases that are clear and intentional violation of the Elections Code that gives a candidate a clear advantage in the campaign.”
Richmond said he felt that the Elections Board did not adequately review and weigh the presented evidence in making its decisions.
BSA Treasurer Adam Ingram (21C) was charged with a Tier I violation of the Elections Code because Richmond accused him of improperly spending money and giving particular individuals advantage in the application process.
A Tier I violation is “reserved for cases that are accidental or minor violations that do not clearly advance a candidate’s campaign.” The Elections Board’s decision serves as “a written warning” to Ingram, and any further violations by Ingram will be considered “at least Tier II offenses,” according to the ruling.
The Board found that Ingram’s approval of candidates applications for executive positions without consulting other members was a violation of the Elections Code.
“Ingram acted on behalf of the BSA Elections Committee, which is out of line with the role of the treasurer position,” the ruling says. “It is also concerning given the fact that he has expressed interest in running himself.”
Richmond said he believed that both he and Ingram should have received the same class of violation, as he felt the Board had found enough evidence against Ingram.
Richmond called the Elections Board oversight of BSA elections embarrassing, considering the organization’s history of solving such problems internally. He said that the Elections Board did not provide adequate justification for taking over the election.
“It’s not a good look for the [Elections Board] to take over [the] elections of a premier social organization on campus,” Richmond said.
He added that SGA and College Council have no ties to the black community at Emory and that BSA is capable of solving its own problems.
Neither Ingram nor Gullatt responded to the Wheel’s request for comment.