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WSU Supreme Court decision reveals SGA election tickets

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Two tickets running for Wichita State Student Government Association elections — “Impact” and “United We Stand” — were revealed Thursday in WSU Supreme Court documents.

Impact will include Sens. Tracia Banuelos and Ricky Oshakuade. United We Stand will include Sen. Paige Hungate, Breck Towner, Sen. Garin Egerton and Lane Smith.

Other members of the two tickets were not included in the documents, which The Sunflower obtained after the Supreme Court overruled an Election Commission decision to suspend Hungate’s campaign for a day during campaign season, which begins Monday.

Banuelos filed a complaint against Hungate Feb. 24 for “engaging in slander, campaigning, and sharing of the campaign,” based on social media posts made by Sens. Brayden Hosman, Egerton and former senators using “#StandWithHungate.”

In her complaint, Banuelos said the hashtag constituted early campaigning and announcement of candidacy a month before the SGA Legislative Journal allows campaigning to begin.

The Election Commission decided the social media posts were campaigning efforts and suspended Hungate’s campaign for the first day of the campaign season.

In her appeal, Hungate cited the First Amendment: “It is outside of any candidate’s control to monitor everything that any student may be saying on social media. It is also outside of any candidate’s control to limit a student’s free speech on any matter.”

Arguing for the Election Commission Wednesday, Chief Election Commissioner and Vice President of SGA Taben Azad cited the Student Bill of Rights, which he argued only protects freedom of inquiry and expression if doing so does not disrupt the regular and essential operations of the university.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hungate, in a 5-0 vote, and deemed the sections of the Legislative Journal that prohibited early campaigning unconstitutional. Therefore, suspension of Hungate’s campaign became “null and void,” the Supreme Court’s opinion on the case said.

“This does effectively grant election parties the right to campaign at any time,” Chief Justice Reece Burns wrote, “including the election period, though many other election rules still stand.”

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See the entire Supreme Court decision: Majority Opinion Hungate v. Election Commission Final Decision

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