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Possible drop outs and violations plague the only contested 2020 races


By Savannah Kuchar     2/12/20 8:54pm

Two days after the elections ballot was approved by the Student Association, multiple concerns have arisen, including a possible Rice Program Council constitutional violation and Kevin Guo potentially dropping out from the only contested Student Association race — the race between John Cook and Guo for the treasurer’s role.

Running on a platform of dramatic reform for the RPC against current RPC Internal Vice President Samantha McClendon, Will Ledig was originally approved to be on the SA Election Ballot as a candidate for RPC president. However, this approval potentially violates the RPC constitution, which states that individuals running for president “must have been a member of the Council for at least one (1) full semester.” The Council is defined by the RPC constitution as the executive officers (president, internal, social and external vice presidents, director of college relations and treasurer), college representatives, committee co-chairs and committee members. Based on the records of past membership on the RPC website and according to Ledig himself, Ledig has never been an executive officer, college representative, committee co-chair or committee member. 

“Last year (2018-2019), I served as one of Hanszen's Beer Bike Coordinators, which meant that I had to report directly to and work alongside RPC's Beer Bike Committee chairs throughout the year,” Ledig, a Hanszen College junior, said. 

Ledig later added that the SA election handbook said that RPC presidential candidates were eligible after at least one semester with RPC. 

“The RPC Constitution doesn't say that the candidate has to be a member of the Executive Council, just the "Council", which I feel like could be interpreted to just mean the RPC as a whole,“ Ledig said in a follow-up. “In fact, according to the SA's election handbook for this year, candidates just need ‘at least one semesters with RPC.’“

Director of Elections Libby Atkins said that it is currently unclear if Ledig will be allowed to stay on the ballot.

“Will is not a member of RPC — he was a college Beer Bike [coordinator]— but we are waiting for a formal confirmation from RPC that this is the case,” Atkins, a Lovett College sophomore, said. “If not, we will remove him from the ballot, as he is ineligible to run.”

The only SA executive position that was contested on the original ballot was for the position of SA treasurer. Guo, a Will Rice College junior, originally petitioned to run for SA treasurer against Cook. But in an email to the Thresher, Guo said that he now instead plans to run for SA External Vice President during a second round of elections set to take place in late March. The originally approved ballot had no candidates for EVP, necessitating a second round of elections. 

“There are a few people eyeing EVP for the second round election,” Atkins said. “If [Guo] does not want to run for treasurer he will need to retract his candidacy and submit a new election packet ... for the second round.”

Guo has yet to retract his candidacy as SA treasurer. The SA will approve a revised ballot at Senate next Monday, according to Atkins, with the intentions of addressing both the RPC president race and the treasurer race. Atkins said that the ballot revision will not affect the current election timeline.

Senior writer Brian Lin contributed to the reporting on this piece.

[2/12/2020 10:07 p.m.] This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that the RPC Council includes college representatives, committee co-chairs and committee members.

[2/12/2020 11:25 p.m.] This article has been updated to include additional quotes from Ledig and to clarify the Council definition as per RPCs constitution. 

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