OGDEN — Students at Weber State University will have to vote again to select the next student body president.
The university’s student Supreme Court ruled Friday evening that the new vote was required because the Elections Committee, which had ruled on a complaint from one of the candidates, was not legally constituted under by-laws of the Weber State Student Association. The committee consisted of just two members, instead of the four members and an adviser as required.
Earlier in the week, the committee had issued a ruling on a grievance filed by presidential candidate Julia Saxton’s campaign against David Wilson, another candidate for the president’s post.
Saxton’s father, Bryon Saxton, is a reporter with the Standard-Examiner.
Julia Saxton said Friday night she was pleased with the ruling, but she regretted the race was to be decided with what the court called a recall election.
“I’m sorry it had to come to this,” she said.
Wilson said the four candidates, who also include Stuart Call and Aaron Burgin, were not informed of the results of the original election, which were to be announced Friday night. He declined to comment on the court’s decision, saying, “I don’t know how to put my emotions into words.”
Call also declined to comment. Burgin could not be reached.
Saxton, a junior, said rules were changed to accommodate Wilson’s use of Costa Vida coupons on the back of his campaign cards.
Saxton said that earlier in the campaign, she was not allowed to use coupons in a similar fashion to Wilson.
“They said I would have to declare (the coupons) as a donation, and it would be valued at fair market value,” said Saxton, adding the donation would have been the entire amount she could spend under election rules.
But on Monday, Wilson was handing out campaign cards with the Costa Vida coupons on the back.
Wilson, a sophomore, said earlier Friday the coupons are the same coupons WSU gave to students in bags in August, and he received permission from Costa Vida to copy the coupons.
“I had planned this out a month in advance and asked if I could do it weeks before,” Wilson said.
Wilson said the cost to his campaign was counted as only the printing of the cards, which was less than $200.
“I paid for it out of my personal account,” he said.
The elections committee denied Saxton’s grievance and no sanction was imposed on Wilson.
Saxton said by the time she found out Monday the committee had ruled in favor of Wilson, it was too late for her to use coupons.
Wilson said another candidate was able to get coupons from another food vendor to hand out with his campaign literature by Tuesday.
Saxton appealed the committee’s decision to WSU’s Supreme Court, which ruled the committee was invalid.
Allison Dunn, director for Student Involvement and Leadership, said the court met with the four candidates in an effort to decide which direction the election should go before ruling for the recall election.
“As you can imagine, there was a lot of frustration, and emotions were running high, and everyone is exhausted after running a week-long campaign,” Dunn said.
The recall election will be a “passive election,” the WSU news release states, and it will take place Tuesday and Wednesday. No other student election races were impacted.