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Editorial: Student Senate – Conflict of interest interferes in the election

Just days prior to the election, Student Senate forced out Belal Kherallah, an executive cabinet chairperson and a presidential candidate. Despite the fairness of the decision, the process itself was certainly questionable with the ongoing election.

Two of the four Student Body Officers (SBO), Camille Sanders and Andrew Yohanan, who made the decision, are also running against Kherallah for the student body president position.

Dawson Hubbs, the chairperson of election committee and the parliamentarian, said it is within the rights of Student Body Officers to ask for the resignation of a chairperson because the position is appointed by the Student Body Officers.

Sanders and Yohanan clearly have a conflict of interest in the process. Even though there is not a written rule in Student Senate’s constitution or bylaws to regulate the situation, the two should have recused themselves from the process.

Sanders was the one who sent the joint email to Kherallah to ask him to resign; Yohanan was the one who sent the communications email to all senators briefing them on the situation.

The Scout cannot confirm whether the complaints against Kherallah are valid, but regardless whether they are or not, the situation was not handled properly.

As Student Senate president Mikki Tran stated, the investigation into Kherallah is nothing new. SBO could have asked for his resignation weeks ago or after the election so it was not so close to the election.

Also, Yohanan and Sanders should not have been so closely involved in a disciplinary matter against a competitor in the election, even they owe serving their official duty.

With the timing and circumstances to the SBO’s request for Kherallah’s resignation, it has interfered with the election.

The student body deserves a fair election, and the Student Senate should be careful in the way it disciplines senators that are not fulfilling their job duties and the manner in which elections are handled.

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