Larry O. Rivers and Virgil Miller filed an appeal with President Fred Gainous and Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Green-Powell Thursday with hopes to seek “relief” of disqualification.
SGA members Jarrett Tyus and Darnell Strom said that the appeal is illegal.
According to Florida House Bill 353, interpretation 7, university administration, specifically the university president and vice president, have no bearing on any decision made by student government in reference to elections or dismissal of officers.
“The university cannot give him relief through an injunction,” said Tyus, a 20-year-old junior political science student from Florence, Ala. “Only a court of law can give an injunction.”
The state ruling, passed on July 7, 2002 by the Florida Statutes Annotated committee, takes the authority from university administrators to intervene in decisions made by student government. The matters may only be addressed through local circuit courts.
“If the appeal were to make it to the circuit court, the worst-case scenario is if the decision stands, it’ll be grounds for university administration to do whatever it chooses to SGA,” Tyus said.
Rivers said the appeal is not to contradict the rulings of SGA, but to keep students from being victimized by disenfranchisement.
“The issue here is the voting rights of the students,” Rivers said.
Rivers said the students voted in the primary elections as well as the runoffs, yet their voices were still not heard.
“I’m disappointed in the senate’s decision to uphold the disqualification set by the electoral commission.” Rivers said. “The student government needs to follow the rules of the election codes.”
Strom said the election codes are clear and the candidates should have a strong understanding of all rules and regulations once they sign the declaration of candidacy. “The FSA sets these rules and regulations to make sure that instances like this do not happen,” said Strom, a senior political science student from San Jose, Calif.
Storm said Rivers especially knew the “inner workings” of the election process.
“Rivers was a key lobbyist with a few campus leaders for House Bill 353 to be passed,” Strom said. “Now he’s contesting because the rules apply to him.”
According to Micah C. Zeno, Rivers and Miller’s legal counsel, a press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. on the Set to discuss the matter.