Dear fellow graduate students,
The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) Executive Board and I want to take a moment to inform you of the outcome of the elections for the 2019-2020 academic year, and to dispel some rumors that you might have heard. The GSO purpose statement in our Constitution charges us to represent the interests of the graduate body and to empower graduate students and support their participation at the university, school, and departmental levels. As such, we take our elections seriously. Without fair elections, the GSO is not able to represent its constituents. We demand transparency, integrity, and fairness.
723 ballots were cast. Unfortunately, allegations of unfair campaign practices surfaced at the end of the elections period. The GSO Elections Committee received accusations from both candidates and constituents of posting campaign flyers in unauthorized locations, defaced or removed flyers, intimidation and electioneering, denigrating social media posts, class disruption, and unsolicited emails (“spam”). These actions violated not only the University’s Code of Conduct and the GSO Bylaws, but also the spirit of fair elections. After the election concluded, the Elections Committee presented the results of its initial investigation to the Senate for action.
According to the GSO Constitution and Bylaws, our Senate is the preeminent body of the organization. In elections, it is uniquely empowered to take any action it deems necessary to preserve the democratic process and integrity of the student body. After deliberating, the Senate considered whether or not to disqualify candidates whose offenses were substantiated by the Elections Committee, and how to proceed with ratifying the election. After two rounds of voting, the Senate moved to disqualify candidates whose offenses could be substantiated and to award victory to the highest vote-getter remaining in each race. These decisions required a two-thirds majority. This made the victors Hanan Mansoori for President, Aniket Borate for Vice President, and Nahush Kasture for Vice President for Multicultural Affairs.
After the Senate meeting, the disqualified candidates (Anoop Choudhari, Pavan Jatti, and Karan Lnu) filed a grievance to the Judicial Officer and Grievance Committee presenting evidence of other candidates’ rule violations. This investigation is ongoing, and the Judicial Officer will present the findings of that grievance to the Senate upon conclusion. Because of our commitment to fairness, it is possible that the Senate will reconsider its motion in order to ensure all candidates are treated equally with respect to their actions.
If you have any questions, we encourage you to either contact your Senator, or to attend office hours at the GSO office in Library North G204.