By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
The student body elected Layne Rouse as its president Thursday, bringing to an end a topsy-turvy election that featured alleged ballot tampering and likely Student Guide violations.
Students’ Association officials said the tampering charges affected only a handful of ballots and didn’t affect the outcome of the races, while two candidates’ door-to-door campaigning appears to violate university restrictions on student soliciting.
The three new executive officers are:
* President Layne Rouse, currently executive vice president;
* Vice president Melanie Booker, currently a sophomore class senator;
* Treasurer Tyler Cosgrove, currently president of student business group Students in Free Enterprise.
While campaigning, Rouse and Cosgrove both knocked on residence hall doors, a practice prohibited by the Student Guide if done without permission from the dean of Campus Life.
Rouse said he saw the rule, which prohibits “soliciting,” as barring salesmen, not students.
But Dr. Wayne Barnard, dean of Campus Life, disagreed.
“Technically it applies to everyone,” Barnard said. “There is an overall non-solicitation policy for both off-campus groups and on. We’re a little less strict about our on-campus people.”
Barnard said the rule was enacted after problems with off-campus groups and that its spirit leans that way; however, Barnard said he was largely unavailable in the past week and did not grant any such permission.
The Guide states: “The dean of Campus Life must approve solicitation by any individual student, student group or outside entity, including [for] advertisements, donations, patrons or any other type of financial support.”
Election chair Jessica Black said no candidates had complained to her about illegal campaigning.
Meanwhile, certification of the election was delayed when Barnard, also SA adviser, told current president Jonathan Wilkerson that a student reported witnessing another student erasing a ballot entry and penciling in another.
After several hours of investigation, Wilkerson said, he and election chair Jessica Black were satisfied that any tampering was likely confined to the one ballot and did not affect the outcome of the races.
“We pretty much went through and took out any ballot that looked suspicious,” Black said. “There’s no way to prove or disprove that [allegation].”
The totals released Monday were those tallied before the tampering allegation, which centered on the presidential race, Wilkerson said.
With the exception of the tampering allegation, “it really did [go smoothly],” Wilkerson said. “The [election] committee was talking about how smooth and peaceful it went.”
Rouse, currently executive vice president, said he was excited to begin working with the other two winners.