UPUA Board of Arbitration Overturns Elections Commission Decision
The presidential election for the University Park Undergraduate Association has, as of last night, become a four-way race. The UPUA’s Board of Arbitration ruled in favor of an appeal filed by David Adewumi and Sri Pisupati, whose ticket had been declared ineligible by the UPUA Elections Commission. After the Board ruled, 5 to 3, in their favor, the Elections Commission dropped its case against the other ticket it had also declared ineligible, Joseph Grimes and Tyler Wentz.
The Commission had made its decision based on Adewumi’s academic standing, in that he had not officially completed two full-time semesters at Penn State, and that he had not submitted a copy of his ID+ card with his registration packet. They also ruled that Pisupati and Wentz, as freshmen, could not run.
Kai Kaapro, as counsel for Adewumi and Pisupati, made little mention of the bias Adewumi claimed the Commission had for him, instead making his argument chiefly on the fact that Dustin Dove, Head Elections Commissioner, accepted Adewumi’s driver’s license as an acceptable alternate. The Commission then used the lack of an ID+ card as grounds to bar Adewumi from the race. “We don’t believe the rules of the game should be changed once the game has begun,” said Kaapro.
In regards to the rule that candidates were required to have attended University Park for two semesters to run, the Board ruled that since there were no provisions in the Code’s language about full-time or part-time status, the the implication of full-time standing to constitute a semester could not be used. This is the rule that was applied to the cases of Wentz and Pisupati, as well. Pisupati is only in his second semester, but his and Adewumi’s brief cited the precedent that Gavin Keirans was allowed to run for President as a freshman. Wentz has completed semesters in the summer and fall of 2010.
Dove, in an email, emphasized that this year’s decision truly reflected the Elections Code, in essence saying that they were incorrect regarding the Code by allowing Adewumi to run last year (Dove was on the 2010 Elections Commission as well).
The Board of Arbitration deliberated for about two hours before returning with its ruling. Because the Elections Comission’s second case, against Grimes and Wentz, was based on the same line of reasoning, they immediately withdrew the case. Wentz and Grimes were then eligible to run for office.
Per the Board of Arbitration’s ruling, the UPUA presidential race has now doubled in size. The coming two weeks should prove very eventful with the additional candidates now in the running.