Election board holds back-to-back grievance hearings

By Linsey Garrison, Staff Writer



Over 50 students crowded into the election board’s courtroom on May 6, the day before general elections, to watch three back-to-back bylaw violation hearings for ASEWU candidates.

Two grievances were filed against presidential candidate D.J. Jigre: one by current vice president Justin Filla for allegedly speaking at a rally without proper notification to ASEWU and another filed by his opponent, Aly Morgan, for speaking with a club without proper notification of the ASEWU.

Jigre was found responsible for his actions while speaking at the rally but not for speaking on campus to a club.

Filla said he filed the grievance because, while attending an immigration reform march in downtown Spokane on May 1, he witnessed Jigre’s campaign mentioned twice to the crowd. Mecha, a recognized EWU club, organized the rally.

“Knowing that Mecha kind of was the main organizer for the event, I just felt that it was my responsibility to [file a grievance] … even though it was off campus,” said Filla.

EWU professor Martin Meraz-Garcia introduced Jigre to the crowd as an ASEWU presidential candidate. Filla said that while Jigre was speaking about immigration, he mentioned his campaign.

“Upholding the integrity of ASEWU elections is of the utmost importance to me. … The sad irony is that Justin [Filla] never came to me and spoke regarding this grievance,” said Jigre. “As I would have told him and will tell everyone today and save us all the energy and time for conducting this hearing, … on April 30, … I had indeed made … Connor Gregg, the ASEWU elections director, [aware of] the Mecha reform march.”

The elections board ruled that Jigre was still in violation because he had not informed the elections director a full 48 hours in advance as is required, and that it was Jigre’s responsibility to inform the person introducing him at the rally of any rules regarding the campaign.

As of May 7, Jigre was no longer allowed to distribute campaign materials.

Morgan filed the second grievance against Jigre, her opponent, because the week prior, her running mate, Caleb Morgan, had filed against Jigre’s running mate Francisco Navarro.

“After going to the grievance hearing where one candidate was brought to the board for this occurrence I just thought that it was fair that the other candidate, who was also there, also be brought forward to keep the integrity of the elections,” said Morgan.

Jigre and Navarro allegedly both attended a meeting of the Compassionate Interfaith Society on April 25 and spoke to club members about their campaign without notifying ASEWU.

During his statement, Jigre said that when Ayesha Malik, the president of the Compassionate Interfaith Society, invited him to help with an event, he assumed his opponent had also been invited.

“When I didn’t see Aly Morgan, I assumed that we had been given separate times to speak,” said Jigre, “I believe as a candidate that is not in my scope of responsibilities, therefore Ayesha Malik has apologized to me for this mistake … and has also taken full blame for this incident.”

“With all due respect, I believe this is very distasteful and frustrating. With respect to the process and integrity of a fair election, I would rather be spending time and energy advocating for my student body than be involved in a petty grievance,” Jigre said, after noting that the similar grievance had already been filed.

“My hope is that my opposition and I can leave this decision making in the hands of the students, and let the students vote,” said Jigre.

Despite Navarro being found guilty, Jigre was found not in violation for the same offense. The elections board cited multiple interpretations of the subsection.

Student Activities candidate Madison Azim also filed a grievance against her opponent, Kendal Davis. Davis was found in violation of ASEWU bylaws for not properly re-stamping her campaign posters.

Elections poster policies state that candidates must take down individual posters when each one expires.

“I had to remove all my posters and get them re-stamped, so they were down for a day or so, so it kind of bothered me that [Davis’ posters] were up five days past the [expiration] dates,” said Azim. Azim submitted photos of five expired posters.

Davis said she was not given clear information about dating campaign posters, and when she received the first grievance filed against her, she double-checked the dates on her posters. Davis said all of her posters were stamped at the same time and so she assumed they all had the same expiration date.

A second grievance filed for the same reason prompted her to check all of the posters and remove one that was out of date.

“It was just a mix-up. … I assumed if I got all my signs stamped at the same time, … they would be all the same date,” said Davis. “It was my definitely my mistake. … I’m not sure how that happened. … I should have checked all of the signs and dates.”

The election board stated that, though Davis was in violation of the bylaw, evidence against her was found to be lacking. “We’d like to state to anyone: If you’d like to file a grievance, we’re going to need clear pictures and your case put together more professionally,” said election board member Kathleen Ruddles.

The election board opted to give Davis a verbal warning for the violation.

Ruddles said after the hearings that this amount of activity is unusual for the elections board with the average number of cases filed per election season being closer to zero. This year, the board has heard a total of six cases.