The last of three official town hall meetings will be this Monday as part of a continuing effort by the Joint Elections Committee (JEC) to address accusations that it was ill-prepared to handle the Student Association (SA) election controversy last spring.
The town halls, hosted by the JEC Charter Reform Committee, are designed to gain input from the GW community on reform of the JEC’s oversight and execution of future SA elections. This comes in response to the controversy that embroiled the SA elections in March and April over allegations of harassment and improper campaigning.
The allegations raised by former SA Presidential candidate Cole Ettingoff in late March accused opponent Lande Watson and her campaign team of impropriety in their campaigning methods, including harassment, bribery, blackmail, and stalking. Submitted in the height of the SA election season, the allegations ignited a firestorm of debate and investigation on the part of the JEC and the GW community, culminating in a ten-hour JEC hearing which saw the committee vote to disqualify Watson on the partial validity of the claims.
Following since has been a wave of criticism by supporters of Watson and members of the GW community that the JEC was not only ill-equipped to handle the fallout from Ettingoff’s allegations but acted improperly in its investigation into said allegations. Such criticism has focused on the JEC’s initial posting of unredacted violation complaints which mentioned by name those involved in the allegations, including two students who were later found to be misidentified in the complaints. The procedures used by the JEC during the hearing have also come under scrutiny, specifically the confinement of witnesses for lengthy periods of time prior to testimony.
In September, the SA moved to address such criticism by voting to move appointment of JEC members from December to September, as well as create the JEC Charter Reform Committee.
The committee, comprised of six voting members from the SA Senate, will analyze how the JEC’s investigation in the spring SA elections proceeded, and deliberate accordingly on actions to be taken to reform the JEC charter, last rewritten in 1999, to give more procedural structure to the JEC’s handling of future violation complaints in elections. Official recommendations are expected to be submitted to the SA by November 20.
The final JEC Charter Reform Committee town hall meeting will be held Tuesday, October 24, at 7 p.m. in the Marvin Center, room 405.