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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA prexy slams Wildcat

    Tommy Bruce, the current ASUA President, listens to discussion during the weekly ASUA Senate meeting in the Tubac room of the SUMC on Wednesday afternoon.
    Tommy Bruce, the current ASUA President, listens to discussion during the weekly ASUA Senate meeting in the Tubac room of the SUMC on Wednesday afternoon.

    The Daily Wildcat landed in hot water last night when Student Body President Tommy Bruce addressed the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate at the organization’s weekly meeting.

    “”Absolutely no disrespect when I say, do not believe everything that you read,”” Bruce said, referencing an editorial that appeared in Wednesday’s issue of the Daily Wildcat. “”At no point whatsoever in this elections process has there ever been any intentional malcontent or bias against any candidate in this campaign.””

    The editorial, “”Flawed ASUA election demands start from scratch with reformed code,”” suggested the student government end the balloting of the current election that was finalized yesterday, and hold a special election under new supervision.

    The suggestion, the editorial states, was brought on by such election confusions as the appearance of write-in candidate Chris Nagata on the election ballot, the lack of punishment for those violating elections codes and ASUA changing phrasing on the ballot mid-election.

    Bruce said the editorials this week were rife with inaccuracies ranging from misunderstandings about the chain of command to the false assertion that the appearance of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group referendum on the ballot did so through illegal channels.

    Daily Wildcat Editor-in-Chief Nickolas Seibel refuted Bruce’s claims, saying that the information from the editorial was “”based on news stories that were fair and balanced.””

    Seibel said he welcomes input from ASUA and any members of the student body if they believe the information is false.

    “”If something we said is factually inaccurate and someone contacts me formally, we will make the correction on Page 2 and on our Web site,”” he said. “”As of right now, I have received no calls from ASUA. I have received no e-mails from ASUA. And I haven’t yet received any letters (from ASUA).””

    One thing that particularly bothered the student body president was that he was not sought out or consulted before the running of the editorial, Bruce said.

    “”I do my best to try to return phone calls immediately. I always try to answer every question I legally can answer and try to provide all the information that is available,”” he said. “”And yet when – you know – when things like an editorial come out that have essentially disgraced and defamed everything that we do and then I’m not contacted, that’s frustrating for me.””

    PIRG, in fact, went through the proper channels on its way to the ballot, since it received nominating petition signatures from 5 percent of the student body, Bruce said.

    Also in reference to the editorial, Bruce said that the Elections Commission is held to protocol by the president’s office and the Senate.

    “”It’s a round-and-round circle, because I will never be able to do enough as Tommy Bruce, student body president, to make up for the fact that there was a judgment made without all the information,”” he said. “”So now I have to work to try to get all the information out there regardless of whether the original information that came out was true or not.””

    Despite Bruce’s slamming of the Daily Wildcat editorial, Seibel said that ASUA has not been completely transparent and stringent to the rules throughout the elections process.

    Seibel said that the Editorial Board believes that student government is important, and thus took hours out of the early part of the week to interview all executive and senate candidates.

    “”I mean, we spent more time discussing who to endorse for president of ASUA than we did for the president of the United States,”” he said.

    If such time and energy is spent on student government candidates, the election should be befitting of such – a process that is brought into question by ASUA ignoring election code violations and bylaws, Seibel said.

    The Daily Wildcat reported on Feb. 18 that almost the entire field of current ASUA senators and executives had committed election code violations by leaving campaign material online past the allowed time for student government candidates. No punishments were ever handed down.

    ASUA changed the wording on the online election ballot Tuesday in the area assigned for voting for the presidential candidates after several hours of voting had already occurred.

    The ballot had originally given explicit instructions on how to vote for Nagata, a write-in candidate who appeared on the ballot with a blank space next to his name, that voters were told they would have to fill his name into for their vote to count.

    The instructions changed to directions on how to vote for a write-in candidate, rather than Nagata specifically by name, following a complaint by fellow presidential candidate Shane Cathers, who said that he felt the Elections Commission may have been bias toward his opponent, already a member of ASUA.

    “”Someone isn’t taking this seriously,”” Seibel said. “”So how can the student body take their own government seriously?””

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