Runoff election Monday
Presidential candidate Vikas Chinnan disqualified

By Greg Scherrer

Online Editor's note - Vikas Chinnan's disqualification was overturned. Please see SGA Elections Update for more information. The complete elections results are available from Technique Features.

A runoff election, to be held Monday and Tuesday, will determine the outcomes of the elections for Undergraduate Student Body President and Vice President of the Undergraduate Student Council. The results of the graduate elections were not available at press time yesterday.
Runoff elections occur when no candidate receives a majority of votes cast; the top two candidates in each undecided officer race compete in a runoff election.
For vice president, voters can choose either of the top two candidates for vice president, Julie Bonds and Divya Gupta. The two came out nearly even in the initial polls, with only 13 votes separating their totals.
Candidates Marc Galindo and Jamey Hammock will compete in the presidential runoff. The third candidate, Vikas Chinnan, was disqualified from the election Thursday, when the Elections Committee ruled that he had violated OIT policy by sending a campaign message to several teaching assistant mailing lists set up for communication pertaining to computer science classes.
The E-mail, sent to TAs of CS 1501, 1502, and 2430 classes, said "Vikas Chinnan for SGA President: Please take the time to vote for one of your fellow TAs...."
"The elections committee felt that the use of a mailing list restricted to official business was breaking OIT policies, particularly because he is a paid employee of the College of Computing," said Jennifer Stokes, chair of the undergraduate Elections Committee.
OIT policy states, "Special access to information or other special computing privileges are to be used in performance of official duties only." According to the elections code that governs the conduct of candidates during the election, "Violation of any Institute policy by a candidate...will result in disqualification."
According to Stokes, "Given the violation in question, the Elections Committee had no choice but to disqualify the candidate."
"I think they did what they felt was right, but the 'spirit of the code' that was referred to many times throughout the campaign by the committee didn't apply this time," Chinnan said. "Neither I nor Marc wanted to win this election by having the other disqualified on a technicality."
Chinnan had not decided yesterday morning whether he would appeal the committee's decision to the Undergraduate Judiciary Cabinet.
Students came out in record numbers to support the election—2098 students, or 21.4 percent of undergraduate students, voted, surpassing vote totals for the previous two years.
The complete election results will be available on our Web site, at http://cyberbuzz.

Copyright © 1998 by Gregory S. Scherrer, Editor and by the Student Publications Board

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