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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  • Also Naeem was fired from Coog Radio for using his show as a means for campaigning which is against the Coog Radio bylaws and a misuse of student fees therefore an unauthorized campaign expense.

  • This is pathetic. Naeem couldn’t win, for obvious reasons, through democratic means, so he’s instead finding an excuse to disqualify the president-elect after he already won fair and square? (In truth, it was actually unfair against the candidate who won, considering the level of persecution Charles was subjected to by the biased and corrupt elections commission) Appealing a complaint over an utterly frivolous issue that had nothing to do with him, after it had already been judged to be without merit, so he can continue his selfish pursuit to become the most embarrassing student body president in memory? People like this are a threat to democracy.

    • just because the commission files a complaint and PROSECUTES any candidate doesn’t make them biased, if the evidence is there or not. use common sense daniel schmidt. yelling at people shouldn’t be accepted, thats not frivolous. duh.

  • To address Darkwing Duck: Naeem did not get fired from Coog Radio for campaigning. Coog Radio told him it was a conflict of interest to have a show because he was a Presidential candidate. He had a talk show called the Daily Cougar Radio Show where he was allowed to speak about any topic in the Daily Cougar. It just so happened that he was in the Daily Cougar many times for his student activism on the side well before the election, unlike any of the other candidates, and yet Coog Radio blamed him for speaking on his show about a legislation he had proposed that made front page headlines in the Daily Cougar. They literally told him he was not to have an opinion on his own show. By the way there is absolutely nothing in the Coog Radio by-laws that says a Presidential candidate cannot have a radio show, I’ve read it myself. I wish people would get correct information before you blog. If anything Coog Radio tried to censor Naeem from having an opinion on his own Radio Show, which is against our freedom of speech and freedom of expression if you want to get technical. It seems to me that this was just another attempt to try to eliminate the student’s voice on this campus, which is what Naeem Abdullah stands against. Naeem is all about student empowerment. I was even told by him that Matt Dulin, advisor to Coog Radio, stated himself to Naeem that he shouldn’t have been fired. The word is Political propaganda, which is the term used for this kind of hypocrisy. Truth be told.

    • OK I support the trial, but lets not get carried away. Freedom of speech and expression do not apply to an employee on the job, especially talk radio. Just do a quick Google search for radio hosts fired for what they say and you’ll easily see how little the first amendment applies. That job is at will employment so the boss or supervisor can fire an employee for any reason.

    • You’re so wrong it’s hilarious. First, Naeem should have had his show removed when it became apparent that he had absolutely NO affiliation or permission from the Daily Cougar to represent them. That enough is grounds to remove his show, because it operated under the false pretense of permission. Second, he did not notify the Station Director (or any of the Coog Radio staff) of his candidacy in advance, instead waiting for them to be recursively notified by 3rd party viewers. That’s irresponsible. When his guests read the names of the candidates, he feigned surprise about being on the list, when in reality he knew well ahead of time that he would be a candidate. This means that rather than ensuring an amicable process of evaluation and regulation to ensure a lack of bias on the program BEFORE there was a problem, he was able to simply proceed without scrutiny. But on to the “legality” of the termination. The Coog Radio bylaws clearly state that a candidate may have no show with a political purpose. Naeem himself admitted that his show is political in nature, and even if he disputes that, it has to be said that he covered politics on the show, which-duh-makes the show political. Article IV section d. of Coog Radio’s Bylaws says “Members who run/hold office in the Student Government Association are prohibited from using their shows for political purposes. Campaigning for themselves and or their party is strictly prohibited. Violation will result in suspension and possible termination.” Important to note is the syntax of that section. It says that they are prohibited from using their shows for political purposes, period. That means that they can remove someone for having a political show, full stop. The specific examples after are not added via a colon, which would indicate that those are the only possible grounds for removal BUT even if they were, in the episode in question, Naeem failed to even avoid those specific things. Luckily, he recorded the episode and transcripts have been made and examined. First, he brought on a person to essentially serve as a “yes-man,” a person who supported all of his views and essentially just campaigned via proxy for him, lauding him with compliments about how he’s an exception to the “corrupt” SGA (all of which Naeem enthusiastically agreed to, and even pitches in on). Choosing to bring on only guests that support your platform is campaigning. Additionally, if this is censorship-not allowing this candidate to campaign on Radio (which, btw, according to Supreme Court precedent is not a violation of any constitutional rights) all the other candidates are being equally censored since, you know, none of them have shows either? All they did in this case is set the playing field level. He made an underhanded power play to try and broadcast his views and never once, even when his show was being disputed, suggested bringing on other candidates to interview about their political campaigns (even if he had, that probably would have been rejected since it would have essentially been a debate). So yes, I do want to get technical and yes, you’re wrong.

      Like seriously, on what planet is that not a conflict of interest? Lol

  • Considering the election commissioner was forced to resign after almost facing an impeachment trial for the same charges, I’d say it is not that big of a stretch to ask for a trial.

    • The reason Internal Affairs began impeachment proceedings against Kendrick was because of his extreme bias as Elections Commissioner. This became obvious to the public when he threw his screaming tantrum over the fact that he didn’t realize his dream of disqualifying Charles and Erica on a technicality that was entirely out of their control. The purpose of Kendrick’s office is to be non-partial in facilitating elections. Instead, he abused his office in every imaginable way to help out his buddy Shane Smith who appointed him win the election, going so far as to make up non-existent rules to do so.

      This is an entirely different scenario than a presidential candidate, who pretty much by definition is supposed to be biased towards him or her self, venting frustration with the Election Commissioner.

      • should candidates be allowed to yell at commissioners? because this incident happened before the trial. is that ok?

      • No I read the impeachment charges. There was no claim he was being biased, it was only for calling someone an “ass-hole”. Considering the chronology of events SGA and everyone not supporting a trial, only that a trial occurs not that the charges stick, is completely hypocritical.

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