I hoped for, though did not expect, better from the SGA Administration led by the only President in recent memory convicted of outright election fraud. Recent events have rendered that optimism clearly misplaced.

riley keaton headshot

Riley Keaton

For those unfamiliar with the culture of corruption permeating the SGA, allow me to bring you up to speed on the history.

While preparing his run for President, Isaac Obioma disregarded the rulings of the Elections Chair and defrauded the signature process – the means by which candidates qualify for the ballot. After committing multiple offenses, the Elections Chair asked if he had defrauded the signature process more than once. He lied to her and was then convicted by the Judicial Board for seeking to “corrupt and undermine our system of elections.”

If the lying and election fraud weren’t corrupt enough, let’s dive deeper into the circumstances surrounding that hearing. Earlier in the school year, the law school had attempted to defraud the SGA of thousands of dollars to cover the cost of their Barrister’s Ball. The SGA rejected the scheme and clarified their rules to prevent it. Mr. Stephen Scott, a law student recently named Mr. Mountaineer, agreed to represent Isaac Obioma at the judicial hearing. What was Obioma’s first real move as President? He proposed and passed a constitutional amendment providing the law school two voting members on the SGA.

There’s an old saying that should have foreshadowed the petty corruption of the Obioma Administration: the fish rots from the head down.

A brief overview of the Elections Committee sheds some light on just how bad off this election might be. The Elections Committee consists of Obioma-appointed Elections Chair Stephen Treadway, Obioma-appointed Attorney General Miguel Fortney-Henriquez, Obioma’s Vice President Abbi Yachini, Obioma-appointed Chief of Staff Bryan Phillips, former Obioma-appointed Elections Chair Brooke Hirst, Obioma-appointee Sydney Luther and College Representative Vinnie Amato.

The naked pettiness, partiality and corruption of the elections process administered by President Obioma has shined through.

John Zaleski and Mikalaa Martin were the only two announced pre-candidates for President. Zaleski and Martin were both candidates on tickets that opposed Obioma’s Unity Ticket. Kate Dye, a member of the Unity ticket, announced her intention to take part in this year’s SGA election as a presidential candidate.

Upon Dye’s announcement, Obioma-appointed Elections Chair Stephen Treadway submitted an elections complaint to himself alleging that the Zaleski and Martin campaigns had violated the elections code by giving interviews to the DA about issues on campus.

There is an investigation process to be followed by the Elections Chair, including providing the complaint to the Zaleski and Martin campaigns. A respectable investigations process was cast aside in favor of rogue electioneering by the Elections Committee.

Instead of supplying the complaint to the Zaleski campaign, the Obioma-appointed Elections Chair leaked information about an ongoing investigation to the Daily Athenaeum in the context of trying to censor the article in which the Zaleski and Martin teams provide their views on campus issues and don’t ask for a single vote.

The outcome desired by the Obioma-appointed Elections Chair, possibly triggered by the entry of a third candidate associated the former Obioma campaign, was to 1) censor the DA article on two precandidates and 2) leak the existence of elections complaints against the Zaleski and Martin campaigns to the press, consequently generating a negative news story.

This sort of rogue electioneering on the part of the Obioma-appointed Elections Chair is in clear violation of every student’s right to a fair and impartial election.

The story, however, gets worse. The Obioma-appointed Elections Chair did not act alone.

Fortney-Henriquez, the SGA Attorney General appointed by convicted election fraudster Isaac Obioma, announced to the DA that it was he who actually *wrote* the email pushing censorship on the DA and leaking the details of an ongoing elections violation investigation. The Obioma-appointed Elections Chair colluded with the Obioma-appointed Attorney General, who is also a member of the Elections Committee, to corrupt and undermine our SGA election.

With this admission of collusion and egregious breach in the election’s integrity rendering dismissal or resignation, the only viable remedy for the Elections Chair and Attorney General, the only question left to answer is this: What did Isaac Obioma know about his senior elections officials planning to do to corrupt and undermine the upcoming election and when did he know it?

The naked corruption – coupled with the crippling incompetence commonplace in this SGA – is too much to bear. This week, elect an SGA to topple the status quo. Elect a President with vision and integrity. If we don’t, the fish will rot from the head down.