SGA Presidential Candidate Faced Trial for Election Violations

SGA Presidential Candidate Faced Trial for Election Violations

Demone Webb, former presidential candidate, faced an election hearing earlier this year due to a total of six alleged violations brought forth in the SGA 2021 Election, including a charge of nepotism. 

On the 12th of March, Demone Webb received a subpoena, requesting his presence in front of the Election Management Team (EMT) due to six standing violations. There were three grand violations and three minor violations, but the individual violations were not specified in the subpoena. 

“What’s going on behind the scenes is lack of due process and improper process,” Webb stated regarding the EMT hearing and SGA election. “It failed to list out these violations and what exactly I’m being charged for.”

On March 23rd, Demone Webb attended his EMT hearing to discuss his alleged violations and charges.

“The EMT committee assessed a grand charge against me of nepotism,” Webb explained. “One [of] the charges were that [Harriet Amofah, the former SGA president,] used her power and authority to help me win. Because she endorsed me.”

When asked for a comment, Harriet Amofah expressed concern over the proceedings involving Webb. 

“It saddens me and [is] disheartening when a candidate I endorsed is charged with ‘nepotism’,” she said in an exclusive statement to The Globe, “due to my relationship with the candidate as my chief of staff. As such a fine institutional organization, there is a power of democracy and choice.”

According to both Webb and Amofah, nepotism is not explicitly stated in the election code as a violation. 

“The subject matter of the hearing was the six complaints filed against me, none of them were nepotism,” Webb said. “This was a clear overreach of the EMT. The EMT does not have the authority to create new categories or violations after the campaign. It’s the job of the SGA senate to make the election rules and describe what is considered a violation.”

Webb was also charged with a complaint from the Executive Secretary of SGA who alleged Amofah was supplying him with debate questions, but Webb denies that happening, claiming they were “debate prepping” with pre-constructed questions by him. 

The state of Student Government

As a candidate for SGA president, Demone campaigned alongside current acting President Naiya Patel. She was running for the position of Vice President on a separate ticket. They based their campaign on ensuring the stability and unity of GGC for students. 

“We campaigned on unity, togetherness, mental health awareness, getting students transitioned back to campus safely, and holding higher-ups accountable,” Webb said. “That’s why I’m here today.”

Amofah stated that Patel was also allegedly charged with a violation for explicitly telling people to vote for her in front of residence housing. Both Webb and Amofah claim this is a violation of the election code, but the charge was then allegedly placed on Webb. 

“The [current president] was never summoned for questioning for a violation that was brought forth against her,” Amofah said. “Her violation was put on Mr. Webb’s violations and [Dr. Mitchell] stated to Mr. Webb when he asked her why is her violation added to his, she stated, ‘since she was part of your team, you are responsible for her violations.’”

Naiya Patel has denied this allegation but declined to comment any further. 

“It boggles me how there is the same charges for both of us, but ultimately, there is different treatment,” Webb said in response to Patel’s alleged violation.

According to both Amofah and Webb, Dr. Mitchell, the former SGA advisor and Associate Director of Student Involvement, played a substantial role in Webb’s hearing.

“It was Dr. Mitchell and two EMT members [at the hearing]. One of the things I raised a concern was they didn’t have a simple majority,” Webb said. 

A simple majority required three out of the five members of the EMT to be present during the entirety of the hearing. At Webb’s hearing, the third member had to leave after 30 minutes due to prior obligations. 

“I asked specifically who the members of the EMT were and sought clarity,” Webb said. “[Dr. Mitchell] stated that ‘it doesn’t matter if they’re here or not, we’re going to continue’.”

Dr. Mitchell declined the request for a statement back in April. However, Jacqueline Todd, Director of Public Relations, responded on behalf of GGC and Dr. Mitchell.

“As SGA advisor, Dr. Mitchell serves as part of the Election Management Team (EMT),” Todd said. “Comprised of the SGA advisor and students, the EMT’s role is to investigate complaints of ethics violations and to ensure the procedures for addressing alleged campaign violations are followed.”

Dr. Mitchell left her position at GGC as Associate Director of Student Involvement and SGA advisor during the summer semester.

“It’s a tragedy,” Webb said, “treating their students like this. This is personal.”

Webb has since been nominated and voted chairperson by all SGA senators. However, the position has been placed on hold pending an investigation on the previous chairperson, Christian Alexander. Webb is unsure if he will return to serve in the SGA for the remainder of the year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.