PHILLIP OCHS / THE EAGLE
In a late-night session lasting from 11:15 p.m. Wednesday past 2 a.m. Thursday, the Judicial Board ruled that Student Government presidential candidate Nirvana Habash was not given due process and is entitled to another hearing in front of the Board of Elections.
Wednesday morning, the BOE had voted 3 to 1 to disqualify Habash from the election due to a rules violation. Habash, who had no prior notice of the BOE’s deliberations, appealed the decision to the Judicial Board.
Habash was disqualified from the election after someone complained about a rules violation by students supporting Habash.
Meg Miraglia, an Undergraduate Senator for the class of 2011 and Emily Beyer, both friends of Habash and members of the School of Public Affairs’ Leadership Program, sent an e-mail over the Leadership Program’s listserv encouraging members of the program to support Habash.
This e-mail violated Article IV Section 10, which states that candidates may not send out campaign related information through listservs, Facebook messages or other mass electronic messaging systems unless it is specifically campaign related. Since the SPA Leadership Program listserv is an academic, university-run program and not a dedicated campaign medium this was a “clear violation” of the rules, according to the acting BOE Chairwoman Erika Zois.
The Board made several contradictory announcements throughout the night. At one point, an SG official announced that the decision had been overturned, leading Habash and others to believe she was re-instated and on the ballot.
After this reporter went to clarify with Judicial Board members Ida Rosenthal and Ray Hear, it became clear this was not the case. Instead, they maintained that they supported the BOE’s decision that Habash had violated a rule and could be disqualified, but because she was not given due process, Habash should have another hearing.
During the meeting with the members, Habash came into the room and argued against this ruling. While it was unclear as of press time exactly what the ruling was, it appeared that Habash would not be able to campaign while her fate was deliberated. This would prevent her from attempting to secure endorsements or, likely, from participating in tomorrow’s presidential debate sponsored by ATV and The Eagle.
Habash told the Judicial Board members that she would be going to Student Activities this morning to discuss the situation.
Student Activities, which oversees the SG, has overturned SG decisions in the past.
Habash had told The Eagle in an earlier interview that she suspected malicious intent, though it was unclear by whom.
“I do suspect some kind of misconduct,” she said. “I’m definitely looking into it, and I think there will be some interesting revelations.