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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Student Government

President-elect at risk


Presidential candidate of The “We” Party Naeem Abdullah, above, and his running mate have appealed their complaint against Student Government Association President-elect Charles Haston for student conduct code violations with the SGA Court of Appeals. | File Photo/The Daily Cougar

Class A violations were jointly filed by the top of The “We” Party ticket against Student Government Association President-elect Charles Haston with the Court of Appeals to determine their merits.

On Feb. 21, Haston was accused of directing expletives at former chief elections commissioner Kendrick Alridge, and Shreeya Uphadhyay, who assumed the position after Alridge. The complaint was brought by presidential candidate Naeem Abdullah and vice presidential candidate Roberto Martinez III of The “We” Party, according to the original complaint form that was filed March 3.

They cited sections one and three of the Student Code of Conduct that relates to standards, harassment, disruption and obstruction, University policies and procedures, and mental or bodily harm, along with a section of the Texas Penal Code that addresses disorderly conduct — each of which are Class A violations.

The original complaint was found unmerited by SGA Attorney General David Ghably. He found that there was “no mention” of mental or emotional harm, nor was there evidence of any demeaning, degrading or disgracing during his investigation, according to documents attached to the initial complaint.

“It is not clear which subsection the complaint in question would fall under … I cannot find any link that would give the subsections justification,” Ghably said. “Charles Haston and Chief Election Commissioner Kendrick Alridge had a meal together on Wednesday, (Feb. 26). It lasted an hour, and there seemed to be no animosity towards each other.”

Dissatisfied with Ghably’s decision, Abdullah and Martinez filed an appeal with the Court at noon Friday, saying that Ghably did not sufficiently research the facts and that it was “virtually unexplainable” for him to come a decision to find the original complaint unmerited, according to the Complaint Claim Appeal that was filed. The witnesses listed on the original complaint include Alridge, Upadhyay, Vanessa Roche, Darcy Caballero, Arianna Cruz and Daniel Gray.

“I hope justice is served. We’re not here to accuse people of things they didn’t do. We’re just saying that these events took place,” Abdullah said. “All we’re looking for is justification of these actions.”

Evidence in the appeal was compiled to defend the assertion that Haston allegedly violated sections 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 3.12, 3.5 and 3.32 of the Student Code of Conduct and Texas Penal Code section 42.01(a1), (a2) and (a4) for shouting a profanity at the election commissioners.

Class A violations are classified as violations of the Student Code of Conduct and/or local, state and/or federal infractions; election fraud; falsified campaign documents; or identity theft. The penalty for a Class A violation is disqualification and an automatic referral to the Dean of Students Office, according to the SGA election rules and regulations.

If the complaint was found merited on appeal, a trial date will be set by the Court.

“This is a last-ditch effort to try and win the presidency through the court because he couldn’t do it with the voters,” Haston said.

Haston and his running mate, Erica Tat, captured 60.8 percent of the voters during the run-off elections when they ran against The “We” Party presidential slate.

The SGA Court of Appeals will release its decision as to whether to merit the complaint at noon Wednesday.

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