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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Cox’s disqualification overturned, Saltalamacchia pushes appeal

Sam Gross

Senator Trey Cox addresses the audience during Wednesday’s ASUA executive vice presidential debate. Cox and opponent Stefano Saltalamaccia debated issues like senate diversity, senate reform and mental health.  

While polls have officially closed on the Associated Students of the University of Arizona executive office elections, some candidates are not finished in the fight for office. Appeals and complaints are still being filed and processed by the ASUA Elections Commission, meaning that for a few of the candidates, the race is still undecided. 

Cox’s appeal gets a response

Sen. Trey Cox, who was disqualified from the election just before the announcement of the results Wednesday night, had his disqualification overturned by the ASUA Elections Commission. 

“I’m not surprised [the disqualification was overturned] because I know its not true,” Cox said. ”It’s just crazy how a rumor could spread like this.”

Cox added that, for him, the pressure is far from over because opponent Stefano Saltalamacchia now has the opportunity to submit an appeal of his own to the ASUA Supreme Court. The court would then have the final say in the matter. 

Diego Alvarez, ASUA elections commissioner, disqualified Cox on five infractions of the ASUA Elections Code. Only three infractions are required for a candidate’s disqualification. The infractions ranged from campaigning in dormitories to making harassing comments about fellow running mate Saltalamacchia. 

Read about the original accusations and Cox’s disqualification here.

Cox denied the accusations on all counts and filed an appeal with the ASUA Elections Commission on Thursday morning. 

The 11-person commission has the power to overrule or uphold Alvarez’s decision and it ultimately voted to overturn all five strikes levied against Cox. 

How it was overturned

There were three complaints filed against Cox, which resulted in five strikes levied against him. 

According to the complaints and a document outlining the individual infractions sent to the Daily Wildcat by the commission, here are the complaints and strikes:

  • Complaint one: Resulting in one strike, this complaint claims that Cox was collecting votes in the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house by providing voters with his own cell phone with which to vote, a practice that is banned in the ASUA Elections Code. 
    • How it was overturned: By citing section 5-4.02 of the elections code, which says “testimony shall not be the sole basis of a complaint.”
  • Complaint two: Resulting in two strikes, this one claims that Cox was in a campus dormitory going door-to-door with his laptop collecting votes. This accusation resulted in a second strike, for providing an electronic device to voters, and a third for the practice of “dorm-storming” or campaigning inside a dormitory.
    • How it was overturned: Once again, the commission cited section 5-4.02 regarding testimony as the reasoning behind this decision. 
  • Complaint three: Bringing in the final two strikes, this complaint claimed that while campaigning in the Kappa Alpha Theta house, Cox said a number of remarks against his opponent, including that he was a “cross dresser.” This resulted in the final two strikes, both for harassment. 
    • How it was overturned: In addition to again citing section 5-4.02, the commission came to the conclusion that there was not enough evidence to substantiate the claims against Cox

According to the document obtained from the commission, further investigation revealed that the testimonies given in the complaints were of friends of the complainant, which was why the committee’ heavily utilized section 5-4.02 of the code to overturn the strikes.  

Tatum Hammond and Mikey Finnegan, the newly elected administrative vice president and the president-elect, respectively, teamed up today to write a letter to the editor addressing the issue. Read it here

Saltalamacchia holds his ground

Despite the commission’s decision, Saltalamachhia is standing by his conviction that Cox deserved his disqualification, particularly in regard to the two strikes for hate speech. 

Saltalamacchia confirmed Friday that he already began the process of appealing the commission’s decision to the ASUA Supreme Court. 

“You look at rules and you read them black and white, or you look at rules and you interpret them,” Saltalamacchia said. “I mean, you see the evidence. There’s been testimony on all of the accounts that he has been striked against. So we can choose to ignore that and we can play by a child’s game, or we can play by the rules that make it fair.” 

Saltalamachhia, who was outspoken on the subject since he filed the complaint on Tuesday, has been leading a social media campaign against Cox. The campaign mostly consists of a video he recorded Tuesday, which accuses Cox of, among other things such as illegal campaign tactics, telling potential voters to not vote for a “cross dresser.”

The third complaint and its attached documents obtained by the Daily Wildcat outline the circumstances under which Cox is accused of illegally collecting votes and saying harassing remarks. 

The complaint states that Cox was being escorted through the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house during lunch on Tuesday by one of the sorority members. It goes on to say that he was walking around with a cell phone opened to the ASUA voting link and asking girls to sign in and vote for him. 

According to the complaint, one of the girls he approached asked Cox if this was allowed, to which he said, “I mean, are you going to report me?” 

The girl accompanying him, according to the complaint, then said: “It’s totally legal … if you don’t report it.”

The attached documents — two emails with redacted (withheld) addresses — are where the complaints of “homophobic” remarks come in to the picture. Both emails, one of which including a photo of a handwritten statement, reference the same remarks in similar situations.   

Christine Hall, a junior studying neuroscience and cognitive science, is the Kappa Alpha Theta member who escorted Cox through the house that day. 

“I cant imagine why an allegation like that would be brought against Trey,” Hall said. “And it truly disheartens me that this kind of information has been brought forward because it is false.”

Despite Saltalamacchia’s tireless conviction that Cox did make the remarks, Saltalamacchia said he would like the opportunity to sit down with Cox.

“I’m very open to the idea of sitting down and having a conversation with him,” Saltalamacchia said. “I think it’s a humbling experience to admit when you’re wrong, but at the same time, it’s a real humbling experience to be received when you’re wrong. I’d shake his hand, give him a hug, whatever he’s comfortable with.” 

Possible appeal of the presidential results 

In addition to the fight of the executive presidential seat, the appeals may be spilling over in to the presidential race. 

Hannah White, who lost to opponent Mikey Finnegan on Wednesday night for the presidential seat, has expressed interest in filing an appeal with the elections commission as well. 

White told the Daily Wildcat via text message that she was considering this option “because of what’s happened through this whole process.”

“I think it’s important for people to be held accountable for their actions,” White wrote.

White added that she will not stop fighting until “the student body’s voices are heard and [there] is justice, with or without the help of ASUA.” 

White declined to comment further on the actions she referred to in the message. 

Ali Gates, ASUA deputy elections commissioner, said White has expressed interest to the commission in filing some sort of appeal, but has not formally done so as of yet. Gates added that White has yet to go through the complaints process that is required to formally appeal to the commission. 

The Daily Wildcat will continue updates as more information becomes available.

Follow Sam Gross on Twitter.

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