Vice President of Student Affairs Teri Hall took to the podium Wednesday during Student Government Association’s public forum, voicing her concern about alleged accusations from Student Body Vice President Taben Azad: “I’m here to speak to you tonight because I learned earlier this week that on Saturday, Vice President Azad instructed the election commission that I could not be trusted, and for the election commission not to to discuss any aspects of the election with me because I was not impartial in this election.
“I was offended and appalled and that statement is totally not true,” Hall continued.
“I will not have my character assassinated in this way.”
Hall said she asked Azad and the commission for the election rules because she was unsure how certain infractions were handled and about certain aspects of the process. She said she still has not been given the information.
Infractions have been placed upon one ticket, Azad confirmed, but specifics about the infractions have not been given. Azad said the infractions will be reviewed next week at a Supreme Court hearing open to the public.
Azad said Hall did not address the full context of the conflict in her public forum talk: “I asked her last Thursday if we could meet — totally ignored my email.”
Hall said at that time she did not feel comfortable meeting with Azad because of Azad’s behavior at last Wednesday’s SGA meeting.
“I was pretty concerned about the behavior, not only to Dr. Tomblin — I didn’t like the the way he spoke to me at one point,” Hall said.
Azad said he and Hall met Tuesday.
During their meeting, he told Hall he didn’t feel she was giving both tickets equal treatment. He said it took until Wednesday for Hall to meet with one of the ticket party leaders, even though their forms had been turned since February 20. Hall said she and Sen. Tracia Banuelos had met Wednesday.
Azad said Hall overstepped her role by “unilaterally making the decision” to not disqualify some members of a ticket who had not turned their declaration of candidacies in themselves. He said he would have preferred the presidential candidate in charge of the ticket appealed to the commission, but instead the candidate “went to Dr. Hall or the Court to advocate against the decision to (disqualify.)”
Azad said the norm was that all declaration of candidacies must be turned in by each individual. One ticket this year, Azad said, had one individual turn many of their forms in.
After a meeting between the candidate, their vice presidential candidate, Azad, Hall, three election commissioners and SGA advisor Christine Schneikart-Luebbe, it was decided there was no clearly set precedent and the declarations of candidacy would be accepted.
Still, Azad said he and other members of the election commission are concerned about Hall overstepping her boundaries in the election. Azad gave no names of specific commission members. The other election commission members are Zane May, Mohamed Zoumy, Ashruta Acharya, Joshua Nichols, Raven Hodges, Sam Belsan, Terence Truong and George Dehner.
Hall said Azad told her Tuesday there is an election commissioner handbook that has all the details of the process.
Azad made the handbook over winter break. He said it’s “about 16 pages, copy and paste, of everything that’s in the (59th Association Election’s Journal),” with two additions: the dates of this year’s elections and the demographics of voters from last year.
Hall said Azad wouldn’t send her the handbook.
“What was the problem of me having that information?
“And still I don’t know.”
Hall said in her experience in higher education, election rules are set in the fall semester.
“The further away you can do that, the better off it is to make sure it’s not political.”
Hall said she hopes some day her experience can be offered to the university. She said she has supervised elections for the last 18 years “in very contested elections with students I’ve known for years.” She said no one ever accused her of being unfair.
“It’s hard for me because it’s just never been my experience in higher ed before, so to be judged a little unfairly in my two months was a little hurtful.
“I knew there’d need to be some changes that need to take place … it’s been a hard couple of months.”
The student government legislative journal lists all of the election information for student government, and is available on the SGA website.