Ledig passes SA vote, faces UCourt
The Student Association Senate voted on Tuesday evening to allow Will Ledig, a Hanszen College junior, to remain on the ballot as a candidate for Rice Program Council president, despite issues of ineligibility and constitutional violations.
The ballot was originally approved at the Senate meeting on Feb. 10 before the elections committee acknowledged that Ledig’s potential ineligibility.
According to RPC’s constitution, presidential candidates must have served on the RPC Council for at least one semester. Ledig served as a Hanszen Beer Bike coordinator last year, but has never been a member of the RPC council.
Ledig said that he understands RPC’s concerns with his lack of experience, but that he doesn’t think that it should be grounds for removing his candidacy.
“So at this point, it looks like RPC is saying that, ‘Oh, he’s not a member of RPC,’ but I guess that kind of makes sense because I’m coming in as an outsider,” Ledig said. “That’s what you’d expect them to say when I really want to shake up this organization.”
Director of Elections Libby Atkins presented this issue to SA Senate Monday night and proposed either removing him from the ballot, in which Ledig would have the option of appealing this decision to the University Court, or allowing him to remain on the current ballot and defer the question of his eligibility up to UCourt.
“If UCourt deems him eligible, then he will stay on the ballot for Thursday,” Atkins, a Lovett College sophomore, said. “If UCourt deems him ineligible, we will remove him because UCourt’s decision is higher than the SA’s constitutional decision to have another vote on the ballot.”
Ledig said that when he was first notified of his removal from the ballot, he asked for a UCourt appeal, but was met with resistance.
“I attempted to request a UCourt hearing to appeal the decision, like the SA bylaws guarantee me the right to, and it seemed that the director of elections was unwilling to respect that request,” Ledig said.
Atkins said she recognized his right to appeal, even though she does not think he should be a candidate.
“I’m not resistant, it’s his constitutional right,” Atkins said. “I am expressing resistance to him being on the ballot. The election committee decided it is best to remove him, but he had the right to appeal his eligibility even if it goes against the RPC constitution.”
The SA Senate passed the current ballot with Ledig in a majority vote. UCourt will be holding a public hearing on Wednesday in Sewall Hall 309 at 9 p.m. to determine whether Ledig will remain on the ballot, which is scheduled to be released Thursday when voting opens.
Irene Chu, current president of RPC, said at SA Senate that even if Ledig remains on the ballot and wins enough votes from the student body, RPC could decide to impeach him, which would result in a second round of elections to confirm a different RPC president.
Chu said she was not informed or asked about Ledig’s candidacy and eligibility until after the ballot was initially approved.
“The election committee did not reach out RPC regarding this issue,” Chu said. “I was not aware that eligibility was previously discussed before it was brought to me.”
Currently the only other candidate on the ballot for this position right now is Samantha McClendon, a Martel College junior and current RPC internal vice president.
Senior writers Rachel Carlton and Brian Lin contributed to this report.
More from The Rice Thresher
Rice offers housing for COVID-19 medical personnel at residential colleges, anticipating peak of hospitalizations
Rice will offer temporary housing for medical personnel who work in nearby Texas Medical Center hospitals at Wiess and Hanszen Colleges, according to an announcement from President David Leebron on Sunday afternoon.
Rice announced that it is implementing a staff hiring freeze effective immediately, according to an email sent to division leads and administrators on Wednesday night. The email, which was obtained by the Thresher, also said that there will be no pay raises for staff for fiscal year 2021.
The university's decision making has evolved along with the pandemic it is responding to, with near-constant updates on policies covering everything from travel, academics, campus buildings and housing and dining. Given the rapidly changing situation at the university as the pandemic ramps up in the U.S. and internationally, this article hopes to centralize the information and clarify the current state of university policies in each of these areas.