Another year, another protest

For the third straight year, results of the SHSU Homecoming King and Queen elections are under protest following alleged violations of the Election Code.The protest began after it was discovered that on Oct. 24, the final day of Homecoming elections, a student attempted to send a mass e-mail to the SHSU population openly campaigning for two nominees. Using the alias Jim Stevens, the student, whose real name cannot be disclosed at this time, asked students to vote for NAACP candidates Mical Roy and Marlena Cooper. Sending a mass e-mail is against Election Code rules. The student involved could also be found in violation of the SHSU Code of Student Conduct. Cooper and Roy, both members of the campus chapter of the NAACP, won the Homecoming election.Both said they had no knowledge the mass e-mail was sent until after they had been crowned.”I had no idea anyone had sent out an e-mail campaigning for us until today,” Cooper said Wednesday. “We were told that was against the election rules. Also there were no NAACP candidates this year; candidates can’t be sponsored by an organization anymore. That’s why this whole thing is so strange.” “I didn’t know anything about the e-mail until after I had won,” Roy said. “A friend came to me later and told me about it and said the student who sent it was going to be in some trouble. I can’t believe someone would try to ruin the election; it could have gotten us disqualified.”According to Frank Parker, dean of Student Life and advisor to the Student Government Association, the attempted mass e-mail only reached 30 students, a fact that may have kept it from its intended purpose.”The attempt was made; the e-mail had misinformation, and they did such a poor job, in my opinion, of trying to get the word out,” Parker said. “They didn’t get the e-mail out to many people, probably because of safeguards Computer Services put in. That prevented it from being something a lot bigger than it could have been.”Parker said the e-mail was traced back to the student who sent it and he plans to meet with the alleged perpetrator within a few days. The student may face punishment from both the Election Commission and the university.”If we find the individual violated the Election Code rules, the Election Commission can go in and approach it,” Parker said. “They have the authority to impose a fine of limited amount. They may also suspend the person from voting in campus elections or holding an office.Parker said he would determine if the student is in violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Disciplinary actions for poor conduct range from a verbal warning to expulsion from the university.”What has happened is clear in my mind because of statements that have already been given by Computer Services personnel,” Parker said. “It did occur, an individual did do it and they tried to mask it.”I’m concerned that the individual is using an administrators name, but the person said they have always randomly used that name,” he said. “Those are concerns I will approach when I meet with the individual.”Cooper and Roy both said they knew the student casually but do not know why the individual may have chosen to send an e-mail that could have disqualified them.”I don’t know why the person did this,” Roy said. “I know how this person is though, and this isn’t the first time they’ve done something like this.””What you had was an attempt at, I think, wreaking havoc,” Parker said. “I can only say I think. I don’t know truly what was in that person’s heart. The person may never admit what was in their heart.”What we do know is that what was done was inappropriate and that this person has done this type of thing before.”As a result, Parker said Cooper and Roy will not be removed as king and queen based on the student’s actions. “I think that probably what has occurred is a wise choice,” Parker said. “What happened was given no credence and sometimes that takes more courage than anything else.”Cooper said she hopes in spite of the controversy, people will be able to move beyond the protest.”Homecoming is over now,” she said. ” All we can do is try to move on.” The student who allegedly sent the e-mail could not be reached for comment.

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