UB Council student representative election ruled invalid

The results of the UB Council student representative election were voided Friday by the University Council Elections Committee in a majority vote.

Elections Committee Chair Matt Siwiec informed the six candidates of the committee's decision in an email sent at 4:08 p.m.

"The committee's decision aims to restore students' trust in the election process and demonstrate that the expectation of professionalism will be enforced," he said in the email.

For the new election to be valid, it must take place within the academic year. The committee decided to hold the election from midnight on May 6 to 5 p.m. on May 8. The unofficial results will be announced either that Thursday night or the following day. The official results will be announced May 12.

Siwiec said the committee came to this conclusion for two reasons: there has been controversy surrounding current UB Council Student Representative Dan Ovadia and his "clear support of one of the candidates." The email stated that "there was questions and concerns about the pervasive and inappropriate use of power by current University Council Representative, exerting undue influence over potential voters."

Though Ovadia hadn't technically broken any rules, Siwiec said, Ovadia's role throughout the process became a question of ethics.

"It is pretty much clear he should avoid anything about the election," Siwiec said. "There is enough controversy. He is a smart enough guy to know that he shouldn't be involved further."

On Wednesday night, Student Activities Associate/Student Government Liaison Mike Lewis told Siwiec that the Graduate Student Association informed him of a possible leak of the results. Siwiec said the leaked numbers were "pretty accurate."

Only the UBLinked team and Lewis had administrative access to the results, Siwiec said. And the culprits of the leak are still unknown and being investigated. The committee has since changed this policy to only allow Lewis and Associate Director of Student Unions and Activities Kerry Spicer to have administrative access to the results.

Current candidates can choose whether or not to remain on the ballot, but no new candidates will be added. Candidates could also choose to appeal the decision made by the committee by going to the Student-Wide Judiciary Chief Justice Twiesha Vachhrajani.

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