In response to questions from the student body regarding the state of exception issued on Friday, March 31, AUSG President Devontae Torriente issued the following statement explaining the events leading up to the declaration and how AUSG will move forward.
“On Friday, after voting for the Spring 2017 AUSG Elections was completed and the vote tallies were being examined by the Elections Commission and Student Activities, the AUSG Judicial Board issued a “Temporary Restraining Order” (TRO) prohibiting the Elections Commission, the Joint Committee on Elections Policy, and the Undergraduate Senate from certifying the race for AUSG Comptroller. It was brought to our attention that the Chair of the Judicial Board Jon Shapiro had been involved in this order, even though he had recused himself from the underlying election violation case, which involved the race for AUSG Comptroller. We believe that his interference was ill-intentioned given the extent of his relationship with one of the candidates and the information we received.
After consulting with Student Activities, I decided to bring Speaker Noah Wills into the conversation and we both found that it would be best to declare the state of exception. It allows the president and speaker to suspend the bylaws in situations that the governing documents do not address. In this case, we declared the state of exception to reverse the Judicial Register and the TRO and allow the relevant AUSG officials to review the results of the Comptroller election and, as they did, certify the election. AUSG in no way believes that the allegations outlined in the election violation submission should be ignored. However, this should now be placed in the hands of American University, and the conduct process should take its course.
Finally, the state of exception remains in effect today, and will remain through at least next Sunday. After consulting with the Undergraduate Senate, I believe we can reform the judicial process to prevent this misuse of authority from occurring again. This can only be accomplished when the rules governing the judicial register, the document that allowed this situation to unfold, are suspended and revised. The Undergraduate Senate will take up this reform in its regular meeting next Sunday.
Our goal is to remain as transparent as possible through the conclusion of this situation. Please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with any questions or concerns.”