‘New Deal’ leader leaks VP’s GPA

Allegations of FERPA law violations erupted after student government Senator Troy Ross included SGA Vice President Brooke Hunter’s GPA in an appeal to the SGA Supreme Court but refused to say where he got the confidential information.

“How he obtained them is the next question, because… he does work for an office at the university that does have access to that,” Hunter said.

Ross said he got Hunter’s GPA from a source he refused to disclose to The Houstonian. Ross claims her GPA is too low for her to be a member of the SGA executive board, but disclosure of the confidential information could be a legal breach.

“I was able to find out from somebody, and I can’t name their name,” Ross said. “I know there are FERPA laws, but she also violated [the SGA] constitution. I can’t go to jail for that, because I didn’t, I’m not, I didn’t release that. I mean I did, but I can’t say who [I obtained it from]. I’m going to protect that person.”

Hunter headed the commission that found Ross and the ticket he managed guilty of campaigning outside of the allotted time allowed by SGA’s election code. The commission disqualified Ross and all five members of the “New Deal” ticket from the elections, which concluded Wednesday at 5 p.m.

According to Dean of Students John Yarabeck, the only legal way Ross could have obtained Hunter’s GPA was if she told him. Hunter said she never disclosed that information to him.

“We do GPA checks of SGA [executive board] members periodically, but he wouldn’t have had access to that most likely within the context of this office,” Yarabeck said. “If someone is able to gain access to somebody’s grades, and they’re not supposed to be, that would be a violation of the student code of conduct. In that case, we would take actions. If someone in fact did violate FERPA or did get into grades, I’m not just talking about Troy or anybody else, that would be a violation of student code of conduct, and we would pursue it.”


Ross and the “New Deal” ticket were found guilty of campaigning on their Facebook page after campaigning was officially closed. The SGA election code states that campaigning is allowed past the 8 a.m. deadline on the first day of voting only if it takes place directly in front of the Lowman Student Center.

Ross, who manages the “New Deal” ticket, claimed to the commission that since he posted the photo on Facebook while he was standing outside the LSC, he technically did not violate any rules.

The commissions thought otherwise.

“They came to a good decision,” Hunter said. “They really thought about it. They didn’t want to punish the whole ticket, but it’s only fair.”

Senator Melinda Perez, who filed the petition against Ross and the “New Deal” ticket, said her intent in filing was not to get them disqualified.

“I was hoping it’d be more of a pop on the wrist,” Perez said. “I feel awful, because I wasn’t wanting to disqualify the entire ticket. That’s the last thing I wanted to see.”

Ross filed an appeal with the SGA Supreme Court via email about an hour after the commission initially disqualified him and the “New Deal” ticket. He claims that Hunter’s GPA is too low for her to constitutionally be allowed to serve in her position as vice president and that commissioner Marshall Herklotz went “rouge” and was unfit to make such a decision.

“I’m trying to appeal the decision, because this is a class C offense,” Ross said. “That’s a class C offense. It’s listed in the election code. That’s not a [disqualifiable] offense. You can’t go straight to disqualification for that.”

Herklotz, who was the sole commissioner to vote for Ross’s guilt in a separate protest hearing earlier this week against the senator, defended his decision making process and said he does not let anything affect his decision other than the facts of the case.

“I am not biased,” Herklotz said. “I go by what I see.”


Herklotz and Senator Dylan McFarland filed an appeal seeking to overturn the decision the election commission made Monday against Ross. The commission found Ross not guilty of campaigning early by coordinating with NAACP to host a forum for his candidates before campaigning started.

McFarland said while Ross was sanctioned to the greatest extent with the verdict the commission delivered Wednesday, he still feels justice needs to be served.

“We’re not allowed to withdraw [the appeal],” McFarland said. “I’d just like to see equal justice served.”

Follow The Houstonian as more information develops. Check HoustonianOnline.com Thursday morning for election results.

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