Sandra Ogenche-Justin Shank campaign will not be on Student Government ballot

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Sandra Ogenche and Justin Shank will no longer be on the Student Government executive alliance ballot.

Election Supervisory Board vice chairman Ryan Lutz said Ogenche was notified of an eligibility problem with her filing before the candidate seminar Jan. 12, though the board and the dean of students gave an extension to resolve the issue. Lutz said the board decided to remove Ogenche and Shank’s names from the ballot Tuesday after the alliance failed to solve the problem during the extension period.

Ogenche is a government and pre-entry public health junior and Shank is a biology senior.

“There was evidence to suggest that it was an administrative error and that it would be corrected quickly,” Lutz said. “With that knowledge in mind, the ESB and [Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly] gave her almost a day-by-day extension for her to go ahead and straighten out any issues she had.”

Because the alliances file was pending the Dean of Students asked them to stop campaigning Monday night. Lutz said the alliance was aware they were not allowed to campaign until the issue was resolved, though they chose to disregard that request.

“She was not considered a candidate at all during that time. She was in a pending status and therefore was not eligible to campaign,” Lutz said. “Unfortunately she has just run out of time, we have to release the ballot tomorrow and it just came down to not having all the ducks in a row.”

After a closed meeting Tuesday night, the board issued a resolution stating that the alliance had not met the requirements outlined in the Student Government Constitution to participate in the election. The resolution also states the issue involves information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, so the board could not disclose specific details. 

Reagins-Lilly said the decision was finalized Tuesday because election ballot must be available a week before elections, according to the election code. She said it is not possible for the alliance to reenter the ballot because of that time constraint along with the unresolved filing problem. The alliance cannot appeal the decision because they are not current candidates.

“What we didn’t want to do was penalize a student if it was an administrative error and keep them from an incredible leadership opportunity,” Reagins-Lilly said.

Reagins-Lilly said with current information, she does not believe the filing problem to be an administrative error on behalf of the University.

Ogenche and Shank did not return multiple requests for comment.

Published on February 20, 2013 as "Student government candidates removed".