The GSA Executive has removed newly-elected President Luke Martin from office in the latest embarrassing twist in the graduate association’s blighted election process.
The organisation, which has admitted to “oversights” in its procedures following illegal amendments to election regulations, has been forced to declare R.O.N. the winner of its December elections and has set up a review group to “ensure that things of this nature never happen again.”
Martin, who was the fourth GSA President since August, was sacked after he was found to have contravened tampered-with election procedures surrounding the use of electronic campaigning.
The contravention was discovered when Matt Beacham, the Returning Officer for the December elections, received a complaint on 5th December stating that Presidential candidate Rui Huang had broken a rule banning the sending of mass emails for campaign procedures.
The regulation stated that email campaigning was allowed, but that “you may not send out mass emails for campaign purposes.” As a result, Huang was disqualified.
During the investigation, Beacham also discovered that the regulation in question had been altered between the dates of the two elections, without the knowledge or approval of the GSA Executive committee. This is in violation with the GSA’s constitution, which states that rule changes require a majority vote of the Exec.
As a result, Beacham was compelled to apply the text of the former regulation, which stated: “You cannot use any form of electronic media to promote your campaign. This includes, but is not limited to, the World Wide Web, emails and newsgroups. You may, however, email individual supporters for the purpose of co-ordinating your campaign.” It is currently unknown as to who changed the regulation.
After applying this regulation to the December election, Beacham found that Martin had also contravened the specifications in forming a Facebook support group. It was also found that the group was running before campaigning was allowed, which was in breach of both sets of election Rules and Regulations.
Consequently, the GSA Executive Committee were forced to declare R.O.N. the winner of the presidential election. A new election will be held next term.
This is the latest twist in a long and embarrassing election debacle for the GSA. The organisation were forced to re-run October’s election, in which Huang had been elected President, after it was deemed undemocratic by the University. Prior to this the originally-elected President Dan Carr had resigned in August before beginning his official duties.
The GSA Exec, who have appointed Carr as acting President until new elections can be held, have stated they “would like to extend our deepest apologies to both Rui Huang and Luke Martin, as well as to all graduate students, for the oversights that led to this situation.”
“We have recently set up both Democracy and Governance working groups to ensure that things of this nature never happen again,” the organisation added.
To add to the organisations worries, an externally-lead Organisational Review that slammed a number of GSA systems, including their election process, is currently being implemented. The GSA stated that in this interim period under acting-President Carr, it “fully intend[s] to pursue the necessary changes highlighted” by the review.