Student Affairs reverses SGA supreme court ruling, Access FIU back on ballot

Stephanie Espaillat / Asst. News Director

Access FIU presidential and vice presidential candidates, Jose Sirven and Devondra Shaw, are now eligible to run, according to the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs. The candidates will be able to remain on the ballot for SGC-MMC elections.

In addition, the SGA elections on both campuses have been postponed to April 19 and 20 to give the two political parties enough time to campaign.

According to the MMC Supreme Court case Gilces v. Sirven, presidential candidate Sirven had been disqualified from the SGC-MMC elections on the grounds that he had not held an SGC-MMC position.  It has now been determined, according to Student Affairs, that an inadequate quorum was held when appointing the justices for the case.  

Access FIU provided Student Media with this information from the e-mail sent out by Eric Arneson, assistant vice president of student affairs.

Sirven’s running mate, Devendra Shaw, brought forward information to the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, and submitted a petition for appeal suggesting the possibility of an inadequate quorum. This second appeal detailed new evidence in Sirven’s favor.

Last week I submitted a 13 page appeal to Arneson in the hopes of encouraging the administration to revisit the decision issued by the Supreme Court,” Shaw said in a statement to Student Media. “I did not and still do not believe the ruling issued by the Supreme Court (which was recently declared illegitimate) was made in the interest of democracy and justice but for political gain.”

“What happened to Jose and I was extremely unfortunate- especially considering that we both have a personal relationship with the individual who filed the writ against us (Juan Gilces) and the leadership in the party he represents (FIYOU),” she said. “I am thrilled that the administration reviewed our appeal and decided to uphold the original ruling of the SGA Elections Board, giving us a chance to demonstrate our passion and our commitment to students.

Shaw said, “Thanks to the SGA Elections Board and the FIU administration, Jose and I finally have an equal opportunity at winning this election.”

“Subsequent to the issuance of the March 30, 2016 opinion, new evidence has come to light that was not readily available to the student body that the associate justices of the Student Supreme Court-MMC were not duly confirmed by the MMC Senate at the Feb. 8, 2016 meeting because the MMC Senate lacked a quorum,” Arneson wrote in the email.

According to Student Affairs, the quorum held when senators appointed the three justices did not follow due process. A minimum number of voting members are required to conduct substantive business during meetings, according to SGC-MMC constitutional statutes.

“In the absence of a quorum, any substantive actions taken are null and void. Thus, none of the justices were confirmed, leaving only the Chief Justice who cannot act alone,” said Arneson.

Sergio Molina, chief justice of SGC-MMC, did not issue a statement to Student Media in time for print.

“Finding that there is a basis for the [new evidence] and having reviewed the decision by the Election Board as to Sirven’s qualifications, I have determined that the Election Board’s analysis is sound and uphold that decision,” Arneson wrote in the email. “Given the timing of this opinion, I am delaying the SGA election to provide both parties adequate time to campaign on the issues.”

“Given that the Student Supreme Court-MMC decision was null and void, the review of that decision by the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs is being withdrawn and replaced by this opinion,” said Arneson.

It was also reflected in the e-mail on whether or not student related cases within SGC-MMC  jurisdiction would be able to take the writ of certiorari to the BBC Supreme Court for additional review.

Arneson was able to comment by saying “the Student Supreme Court-BBC cannot entertain any appeals for the Student Supreme Court-MMC because the SGA governing documents make it clear that the two campuses have independent authority,” he said when discussing on whether or not Sirven was able to take the grievance to the BBC Supreme Court.


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