The SGA Supreme Court has stayed busy in the past few weeks, as a lawsuit in reaction to McReynolds v. Allen was released on Jan. 28.
The court, in the McReynolds decision, ruled that the Arts and Sciences council had to update their election process.
Last year, the school council had an internal election in which candidates for student senate submitted applications. However, the court ruled that this was not a true election process.
Because the election is happening this month, Arts and Sciences was given the option to participate in the SGA general elections, and create a new election process for next year.
Arts and Sciences president Victoria Allen accepted this option. Arts and Sciences vice president Becca Sears subsequently filed a petition with the Supreme Court arguing that she was not informed of the decision until receiving an email from the College, which all students received.
She argued that by accepting the offer to participate in the general election without consulting her, Allen was acting beyond her powers.
“What the constitution requires is that the Chief Justice serve all of the parties to the petition when it is filed,” said Chief Justice Ben Shepard. “The Constitution requires that we give the opinion to the parties, the SGA President, the Executive Vice President and the Senate Speaker.”
He said that in McReynolds, the procedure was changed to include the leadership of other school councils due to the nature of the case.
“For the first time I’m ever aware of, I used the procedure in the SGA Constitution where we have the power to designate other individuals as relevant parties to the petition,” he said. “It was a very inclusive notice procedure that we used in this case. It really is the most publicized case we have ever had before.”
Sears, however, did not receive the case information for two reasons.
Because Arts and Sciences was being sued, only Allen, who is in charge of the council, was served. This, he said, is the standard procedure.
In addition, her email was not listed on SGA website, which is where Shepard finds the contact info.
He added that Sears still could have found all relevant documents on uoflsga.org/services/sharepoint/.
In the end, the petition was denied because of a lack of evidence for the accusations and a lack of court authority to investigate wrongdoing. That, says the opinion, belongs to the student senate.
“We conversed for much of the 16th and then on the afternoon of the 17th concluded that the petition didn’t present a meritorious question,” said Shepard.
According to Shepard, this case was a little out of the ordinary.
“Yeah, it’s a little confusing,” he said. “You don’t normally see non-election cases being filed by parties that don’t represent themselves.”
SGA Elections are set to begin on Wed. Feb. 4.