The Student Government Association (SGA) Elections Board has not reached a verdict on the winner of the SGA presidential election between Goizueta Business School junior and SGA Chief of Staff Matthew Willis, and College junior and SGA Representative-at-large Raj Patel. This decision was due to allegations of cheating against at least one of the candidates, according to Matthew Kuhn, the chairman of the SGA Elections Board and a second-year law student.
In addition, B-School junior Raghvi Anand won the election for Student Programming Council (SPC) president with 53.02 percent of the vote, and College junior Graham Brooks won SPC vice president with 58.88 percent of the vote.
The races for SGA vice president, College Council (CC) vice president and CC president positions will have a run-off election on Tuesday. Their campaigns start today.
SGA Presidential Election
According to Willis, when he met with the Elections Board last night, the board presented him with allegations they had received about his opponent. Willis said the allegations concerned campaigning the day of the election, an illegal move that is stated in SGA elections rules.
Willis and Patel told the Wheel that during the meeting, the board said the results were very close. Kuhn declined to release which candidate received more votes yesterday in the case that a run-off will occur.
Last night, Willis told the Wheel that he will submit a formal written challenge against Patel to the board.
Willis also said the board told him that no allegations were made against him.
Among the allegations that Willis will include are an email Patel sent out to Clairmont campus residents yesterday, as well as a Facebook post and other students’ conversations with Patel.
Patel denied the allegations.
“I did not campaign today,” Patel said. “I encouraged people to vote … I never asked anyone to vote for me. I promise you that.”
Willis said he does not think Patel campaigned for students to vote for him blatantly but said it was “borderline” and still something Patel should not be doing.
“I don’t know why anyone would risk [that],” Willis said. “That was extremely grey.”
In accordance with Elections Board procedures, the board will look at the written challenge and determine whether there will be a hearing. Two days after the submission of the written challenge, both candidates will present their cases.
The earliest the Elections Board could hold the hearing is this Sunday, Kuhn said.
“I want to know what all these allegations are,” Patel said. “I want to hear them firsthand from the Elections Board.”
After the hearing, the board will meet privately.
Kuhn said the board has a range of options when it comes to a decision, from requiring community service of the candidate to a runoff election to disqualification.
As for the other positions, the SGA vice presidential election is now between College junior and CC Divisional Treasurer Ye Ji Kim and Governance Committee Chairperson and SGA Sophomore Representative Ted Guio.
The election for CC president is between College junior and junior legislator Bisi Adeyemo and College junior and CC Chief of Staff Jeremiah Lau. And the election for CC vice president is now between College freshman and CC freshman legislator Reuben Lack and College sophomore and CC sophomore legislator Adam Chan.
After winning the SPC presidential election, Anand said she was so overwhelmed when she found out about her win, citing her experience as the reason for his election into the position.
“I know SPC, but I [also] know how to take it to the next level to a bigger and better place,” Anand said.
Brooks said being able to know the result is “a wonderful gift.” He said implementing sustainability initiatives is one of the first steps he will take once in office.
“One of the things that I was campaigning about was sustainable events, so making sure that sustainability and zero waste is central to [this year],” Brooks said.
B-School junior Patrick McBride won the election for BBA president.
“I will work as hard as possible to better the Goizueta experience through more resources, more collaborative programming with SGA and CC, and more discussion regarding strengths and weaknesses that Goizueta and the BBA Program can emphasize and change,” McBride wrote in an email to the Wheel.
– By Karishma Mehrotra