Madison Gardner, left, and Antonio Guevara, right, claim the Election Code rules violated their constitutional rights after being disqualified on Feb. 22.
After his disqualification from SG elections, former presidential candidate Madison Gardner said he may file a lawsuit against UT to get back on the ballot. Remaining candidates Thor Lund and John Lawler also contribute their statements on the events surrounding this year’s campaign season.
|Madison Gardner, left, and Antonio Guevara, right, claim the Election Code rules violated their constitutional rights after being disqualified on Feb. 22. ||Madison & Antonio Twitter|
Despite his disqualification from Student Government elections, former presidential candidate Madison Gardner says he isn’t giving up just yet, even if it means filing a lawsuit against the University to get back onto the campus-wide elections ballot.
“This is a college I really believe in and something I’m really passionate about,” said Gardner. “There were a lot of exciting things I was looking forward to doing in the next year, and to see it disappear with one minor violation is something I don’t think a lot of people are willing to give up on a whim like that.”
Gardner and running mate Antonio Guevara claim the Election Code rules set forth by Student Government and the Election Supervisory Board violated their constitutional rights after being disqualified on Feb. 22 for associating themselves with Student Events Center presidential candidate Carissa Kelley in a promotional photo for their campaign.
We got disqualified for such a petty thing. There was one girl’s picture. She wasn’t even running when she took the photo, and I hardly even know her. She didn’t add anything to the campaign; we had no contact with her. I don’t even have her number.
“We got disqualified for such a petty thing,” said Gardner. “There was one girl’s picture. She wasn’t even running when she took the photo, and I hardly even know her. She didn’t add anything to the campaign; we had no contact with her. I don’t even have her number.”
Before seeking legal action, Gardner said he and Guevara will explore options within the Office of the Dean of Students and other University offices before the elections to try and get their campaign back on the ballot.
If that fails, Gardner said they would file on the basis of freedom of association and freedom of speech through the First Amendment, similar to the 1997 case of vice presidential candidate Marc Levin. Levin filed charges with Travis Count, in which the judged ordered UT to postpone its SG elections. After review, Levin was put back on the ballot.
“This is something I strongly believe in and I’m passionate about serving this university,” said Gardner. “This punishment is inequitable, and we’re willing to fight for justice.”
However, Charles Maddox, member of the Election Supervisory Board, said he remains confident that the Board made the right decision in disqualifying the campaign.
“Under the guise of the law and under what the code says, they may be disqualified and were,” said Maddox. “It was a unanimous decision.”
With a record setting campaign season of two disqualifications, the only candidates remaining are John Lawler with running mate Terrence Mass, and Thor Lund with running mate William (Wills) Brown.
“It is unfortunate about what happened,” said Lund. “We hope to move forward with our campaign and I continue to wish Madison and Antonio the best in their future endeavors.”
Lawler, on the other hand, submitted an exclusive statement to The Horn with his thoughts concerning the recent drama surrounding this year’s election season.
“I personally believe that Student Government has the potential to do great things on behalf of the students it represents,” wrote Lawler. “My faith in the organization has not been shaken. But the same cannot be said of the thousands of students who have lately opened the newspapers in utter disgust as they read about the mess that this election cycle has turned into… Re-earning students’ confidence is going to require steadfast resolve and, quite simply, time.”