Student faces punishment for election tampering

Following the protest of Homecoming elections for a third consecutive year, university officials are beginning to investigate the alleged actions of the student involved.The student, whose name cannot be disclosed at this time, is suspected of attempting to send a mass e-mail to the student body campaigning for king and queen candidates Mical Roy and Marlena Cooper. Sending a mass e-mail violates the SHSU Election Code, and the student’s attempted sabotage of the election can also be viewed as a breach of the SHSU Code of Student Conduct. The e-mail, sent under the alias Jim Stevens, only succeeded in reaching 30 students. It was later traced back to the individual who sent it and the accused student will now face disciplinary action.Members of the university Election Commission have authority to enact minor disciplinary actions against the student if it finds the Election Code was violated.Keneshe Butler, chair of the Election Commission, said she and her fellow members met last month and determined sending the mass e-mail was an Election Code violation. She said the commission then elected to exact the highest penalty at their disposal.”We gave the person the highest punishment we could and said that they couldn’t run in any campus elections for the remainder of their college career,” Butler said. “To be honest, we wish we could have done more.”Butler said many members are hopeful the student will face stiffer discipline at the administrative level.”What the student did was wrong. The person went directly after two candidates they didn’t know and could have gotten them disqualified,” Butler said. “We know this isn’t the first time this student has done something like this either. The person should be expelled, but that’s up to Dean Parker.”Dean of Student Life Frank Parker met with the student one-on-one Nov. 4.Parker said it has been determined that the student’s actions were inappropriate.”There was a code violation,” Parker said. ” It’s also certain the student’s actions were purposeful; the student knew what he or she was doing.”He said the student appeared at least somewhat regretful of their actions.”The student seemed remorseful; of course, you can never know if a person is remorseful for getting caught or truly remorseful for what was done,” Parker said. “I think the student was sincere.”Parker said Monday’s meeting was preliminary in nature and that he is still assessing the situation and gathering facts before determining what disciplinary action to take.Penalties for violations of the Code of Student Conduct range from a verbal warning to expulsion from the university.Parker added that the student involved is not powerless and has a choice regarding how the situation will be handled.”Students always have options,” Parker said. “The individual in this case has the right to chose whether they want it to be handled administratively through myself or through a hearing.”One never knows what disciplinary action will result from a hearing,” he said. “However, hearings can always be appealed.”Parker declined to reveal more information about his meeting with the student in the interest of maintaining the individual’s rights to privacy. He did, however, ensure that the student would be treated fairly.” At this university, you will not find a person who will be more fair to students,” Parker said. “I will enforce the university codes and rules, but I will always be fair.”

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