By LAURA ROMPF
Assistant News Editor
Brian O'Donoghue and Brooke Norton will remain the 2000-2001 student body president and vice president after Student Senate voted Thursday in favor of upholding the Judicial Council's decision for their presidency and turning down candidates John Osborn and Mark Donahey's appeal.
Osborn and Donahey argued that the election process was unfair because there was no run-off election after candidates Hunt Hanover and John Micek were disqualified for campaign violations and the presidency was given to O'Donoghue and Norton. Osborn and Donahey requested another election.
"The primary and final election must be viewed as two completely separate, different elections. There are different rules that govern each," said Kelly Folks, Judicial Council president.
Folks explained that all other tickets were eliminated on Monday's primary, so the only two tickets remaining were Hanover/Micek and O'Donoghue/ Norton.
When Hanover/Micek were disqualified, the only ticket left was O'Donoghue/Norton, and they were declared the winner. The final primary voting tally was never publicly released.
Osborn and Donahey said there should have been another election so the students' actual votes would be counted.
"Our opinion is there was never a valid run-off election," said Donahey.
"There were two tickets taken from the primary, but when one was disqualified, that left only one other ticket. They can't have a run-off with one ticket."
Donahey also made another clarification of their appeal.
"The Judicial Council says that the ticket was running in an independent unopposed election," he said, "and thus they could declare them the winner. However, this is if no one else is vying for the presidency. In this case, there were nine other tickets vying for the presidency.
"If this decision is being made on convenience, because having another election would be too difficult, this is wrong and should not be the basis of the decision today. We want to follow the constitution and represent the student body as best we can."
Folks disagreed, saying that the election was carried out according to the constitution.
"The process followed the constitution exactly," Folks said. "In fact, if there are complaints that the student body wasn't represented, this is not true. There were dorm representatives at our meeting and they each had a say in the decision."
Osborn stressed that the appeal was not simply to win the presidency, but rather to make sure the student voice was considered.
"The election here and earlier this month at Saint Mary's has hurt student government's reputation," Obsorn said. "The student body and faculty need to see legitimacy. They need to understand the clear process by which leaders are elected. More than anything we are looking to restore confidence in student leadership."
Obsborn continued his argument by asking senators to consider trying to strengthen the reputation of student government.
"As a student, I want to know that my vote counts and as a leader I want to know that the students chose to elect me," he said. "We feel we have the opportunity now to set things straight and give students faith in the president and vice president.
"Right now the entire process is in question and we'd like to urge everyone to take this opportunity to validate student government and its leadership."
Some senators said the two previous elections were legitimate and there was no need to accept the appeal and have a third election.
"There is a process," said Brendan Dowdall, Dillon Hall senator said. "We have a legitimate candidate because the process was followed to the letter, to the spirit, to whatever. I stand behind the Judicial Council's decision."
Candice Marcum, Welsh Family Hall senator, agreed that students had a choice in the election.
"The [Hanover/Micek] ticket was not disqualified until 7 o'clock on the night the results were counted. Thus, up to that point, students did have a choice and the run-off was valid."
Ryan Becker, Zahm Hall senator, disagreed.
"We have been told that the second election was null. Kelly [Folks] said it was nullified. Thus, the students' votes did not count."
However, Pat Foy, off-campus senator, agreed with Folks' statement that the primary elminated all tickets except Hanover/Micek and O'Donoghue/Norton, and thus the Osborn/Donahey appeal should not be accepted.
"After you lose the primary election, you do not count any more," Foy said.
"Even if you want to count, you do not," he said. "Because Hanover was disqualified, there was one, unopposed ticket remaining. The rules were followed exactly as they are written."
After the debate, the Osborn/ Donahey appeal was denied by an 18-2 vote.
Reactions following the decision varied.
"I'm glad the senate finally decided the election, it seems there's no limit to what they can do," said Dan Peate, parliamentarian.
Becker also shared frustrations. "Student Senate elected the president tonight. They made the decision who was going to be president. That's
what I have a problem with," he said.
"All the senate did was uphold the recommendation made by the Judicial Council," Foy said. "We did not choose the president. We made no choice here tonight except to follow their leadership."
Ed Foy, Knott Hall senator, said that the Judicial Council's decision had to be upheld in order to control future elections.
"Clearly the Judicial Council did the best job they could [by disqualifying the Hanover/ Micek ticket for violations]. Otherwise we would be allowing people to run their campaign how ever they wanted."
President-elect O'Donoghue said he hopes the elections are finally over.
"We are grateful we finally have the opportunity to start working," he said. "It's time to begin the journey toward everything Notre Dame and her students can and will be."
In other senate news:
u Phil Dittmar, current Fisher Hall senator, was unanimously elected off-campus senator for 2000-2001.
All News Stories for Friday, February 25, 2000