UPUA Board of Arbitration Takes Center Stage in Elections
Two presidential and two vice-presidential candidates will learn tonight if they are eligible to run for those offices in the University Park Undergraduate Association when that organization’s Board of Arbitration hears their appeals. Last week, the tickets containing David Adewumi and Sri Pisupati, as well as Joseph Grimes and Tyler Wentz were declared ineligible by the 2011 UPUA Elections Commission.
In both cases, candidates were barred from the race based on a new interpretation of the Elections Code, which states that a student must have attended school at University Park for at least two semesters prior to running. Adewumi, who ran for UPUA President in 2010, is a senior, Grimes a senior, and Pisupati and Wentz both freshmen.
The Commission found in Adewumi’s case that he has not completed two full semesters in the traditional sense. Pisupati is in his second semester at University Park, and Wentz is in his third, including a summer semester.
Joseph Grimes claimed over the phone that the Elections Commission wrongly interpreted the Code because the language was vague, and said the Code needed to be rewritten with more precision. He said that there was no provision to discount Wentz based on viewing a summer semester differently from a fall or spring one. He also added that, as applies to Adewumi, there are no provisions regarding full-time or part-time student status. Both tickets are appealing on those grounds.
The definition of “semester” is at the center of the debate. The Board of Arbitration, essentially the UPUA’s version of the Supreme Court, will now decide whether a two-candidate presidential election will increase to three or four. We haven’t heard much out of the Board before, but now they will be charged with changing the face of this year’s presidential election (or not).
The hearings take place tonight at 8 p.m. in 129 HUB and are open to the public. The UPUA faces a pivotal point here in how liberally its constitution can be interpreted, which will undoubtedly play a role in how the UPUA conducts all of its business down the road.