The following letter is to concerned students about the SGA elections and to clarify some of the issues brought up in the last few articles by The Signal. For full context please read previous articles by The Signal covering the presidential race during SGA elections.
Kaelen Thomas’ suspension error
The Election Commission did make an error in Thomas’ suspension and we make no excuse in that regard. It was a miscommunication from the Student Judicial Board to the Election Commission.
I understand many are upset at this and appreciate the concern over our judgment. However, we could not punish Thomas for an error we committed. That isn’t fair.
Process of contacting Makeeda Winkle
Winkle was contacted on both PIN and her work email. She would have received two notifications to her student email even if it was sent directly. Both alerts would appear on her phone and other devices. In addition, Winkle had more than four days to see them.
If Winkle did not see our messages, that is out of the control of the Election Commission and I regret that we were not contacted. What I must ask is if Winkle was concerned that she had not been contacted, why did she, nor anyone else who supposedly had evidence to contribute, not reach out to our public emails?
Without evidence to say otherwise, we had to close the investigation and declare a winner.
Why the Election Commission didn’t go into Kaelan Thomas’ group chats
The reason we couldn’t request Thomas give us access to his GroupMe was due to lack of evidence to justify the demand.
We were able to leverage the access to Nigel Walton’s Group chat because we had evidence (the screenshot attached to the original complaint) that gave us the jurisdiction and justification.
This — in addition to others — is the reason that we were able to avoid penalization by the SJB, Dean of Students Michael Sanseviro and Georgia State’s legal team when Walton protested.
Without such evidence, the Election Commission could not leverage the same demand again.
The Student Judicial Board’s appeal process
With this letter, I am publicly requesting a Perimeter filled appeals board revisit Walton’s appeals to ensure full transparency. While an Associate Justice at Perimeter worked the appeals process, the SJB should work to fully make sure the process is vetted.
The Election Commission did submit these appeals to the SJB for review (via a form), and the process of review was left to the SJB. The bylaw mentioned by The Signal in their last article (referring to presidential appeals being made to the SJB from the campus the Chief Election Commissioner is on) is a discrepancy that was being fixed by the Election Commission and SGA.
Justices are required to hear both sides in conduct hearings when there are violations of the Student Code of Conduct.
This was an election complaint appeal and as such fell under a different territory. SJB and SGA bylaws don’t require the SJB to allow for candidates to be a part of this process. Implying differently is misconstruing them.
SJB Justice Dawnyale Allen did not have a conflict of interest in appeals
Dawnyale Allen would not be swayed in anyone’s favor in this regard. The SJB was fully committed to providing suspensions to both candidates where needed and no one had any issue when she denied Thomas’ appeals.
Conflict of interest was not present as Allen would have needed to benefit from such a decision. As university-wide SGA president, Thomas couldn’t provide any.
Calling into question the SJB shouldn’t be done unless consistently the SJB ruled in favor of Thomas and against Walton.
Atlanta Speaker Pro Tempore
Vice Chair of Marketing for the Atlanta Election Commission
SGA Bylaws Committee Chair