Candidate disqualified from SGA Elections

Erica Santiago / News Director

The Supreme Court of SGA at FIU has ruled Jose Sirven, Access FIU’s presidential candidate, ineligible to run for SGA President.

“[Sirven], according to the Constitution of the Student Government Association, is ineligible because in order to run for President he must have held an SGA position for at least a year,” said Juan Gilces, vice president of SGA.

Sirven argues that his position as president of the Resident Hall Association counts as an SGA position, since RHA is a bureau under SGA.

“I get paid by SGA, I’m invited to the SGA banquet, I have to go to all the cabinet meetings because RHA is an SGA and SGC-MMC agency. The Senate is able to remove me [as RHA President] because the senate created RHA and made it into a governing council,” said Sirven to Student Media.

The issue isn’t whether or not RHA is a part of SGA, but whether or not Sirven’s RHA presidency counts as an SGA position, says Gilces.

However, Sirven says there is no clarification on the term “SGA position” in any government document.

“The closest to that term that the government documents provide is ‘SGA official,’” Sirven said. “So logic tells us, anybody who occupies a position in SGA is an SGA official.”

Though RHA is a bureau under the jurisdiction of SGA, RHA operates under its own governing documents and conduct its own elections to their executive board, according to Gilces.

“These individuals [the RHA executive board] are not elected or appointed by the Student Government. They are elected by the students that they serve,” he said.

Gilces says the RHA president does not represent the housing students, instead the president enhances resident’s experiences through programming.

“The people that represent the housing students, are the housing Senators, who are part of legislation,” he said. “RHA and other agencies are under the jurisdiction of SGA, but their president positions and all other positions are not SGA positions.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice Sergio Molina said in a statement to Student Media, “Realistically speaking, the Constitution does not recognize RHA or RHA president as an SGA position.”

Sirven and Gilces has confirmed that an appeal has been brought to the Vice President of Student Affairs Larry Lunsford. Student Media reached out to Lunsford for a statement but did not receive one in time for publishing.

Both Sirven and his running mate, Devondra Shaw, must cease all campaign activity as decided by the Elections Commissioner, Luis Callejas.

Initially, Sirven’s application was approved by the Elections Board, according to Callejas. In a Writ of Certirorari, a document provided to Student Media by Callejas, Sirven’s candidacy was first appealed to the Elections Board.

The Writ says, “The Board has found that there is not enough clarity in the SGA Constitution and Statutes to disqualify Mr. Sirven, therefore his candidacy stands.” The decision was reached Feb. 23.

In a statement to Student Media about the Board’s decision, Callejas said, “We looked at multiple documents that are SGA laws and these documents clash with each other.”

“The interpretation of these documents is not straightforward because they do not say the same things. Some documents supported Jose Sirven’s candidacy and others were less clear on this point,” he said.

“Beyond the documents which are inconclusive at best, we looked at the reality of the RHA President’s position. RHA President meets with the Cabinet, reports to the SGA President and gets paid by SGA. The RHA President is even in the SGA annual photos and is invited to the SGA yearly banquet. There is no difference between these duties and those of a cabinet member.”

Callejas said, “In regard to the Supreme Court, they have a right to make their own decision as we did. We stand by our decision because we took many factors into consideration and we came up with a fair ruling.”

“Their ruling supersedes any decisions made by the Elections Board just as their decision is superseded by the Vice President of Student Affairs. We are constitutionally bound to uphold their decision and we have already taken the necessary steps to conform with their finding. We have informed Mr.Sirven of his disqualification and will be confirming. Mr. Callozo’s victory in the days to come if no further appeal is requested.”

Both Sirven and Shaw are still on the ballot for SGA elections. Students can vote on April 5 and 6 with election results announced April 7.

2 Comments on "Candidate disqualified from SGA Elections"

  1. Michael Hernandez | March 29, 2016 at 1:19 AM | Reply

    Just an example of the corruption…… I hope Sirven wins the appeal; at least someone has the balls to challenge the system

  2. Michael Hernandez | March 29, 2016 at 1:19 AM | Reply

    Just an example of the corruption…… I hope Sirven wins the appeal; at least someone has the balls to challenge the system

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