USG President sworn in after Senate rejects election results

By Daily Egyptian Staff

Joshua Bowens was reportedly sworn in as president of Undergraduate Student Government on Tuesday night after a majority of senators voted not to ratify the results of a campus-wide election that chose him to lead.

The newly elected USG president won the student election over candidate Brandon Kyles in April. The Senate is supposed to ratify the annual elections, without which the results are not official, according to the governing body’s Constitution.

Several senators have accused USG advisor Tena Bennett of overstepping bounds after Bennett reportedly spoke without senate recognition and consulted university attorneys on the matter. According to the USG Constitution, the advisor may “sit and support” the governing body as an ex officio member.

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Bowens was subsequently sworn in; he takes over the position May 14.

A Daily Egyptian reporter was denied access to the banquet by event security. Bennett could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

After the banquet, Bowens said the senate did not have a choice in the matter “because the constituents of the undergraduate student body chose who they wanted to represent them.”

“It was clear that I was going to be sworn in because I had won the election,”  Bowens said.

Outgoing USG President Jared Stern, speaking by phone Tuesday night, said the election was done properly and all procedures were followed. Of Bennett’s actions as advisor, Stern said she “consulted with university attorneys to establish what was procedurally correct.”

“That was the extent of her role,” he said.

Senator Nick Shereos said some senators are planning to bring the matter to the Graduate and Professional Student Government.

“They are the only ones who, on behalf of students, can say the university is meddling to the trustee board,” Shereos said.

Senator Will Schefelbein, who endorsed Kyles after dropping out of the presidential race himself, said he thinks some senators aren’t confident that Bowens is competent enough to run the body.  

“He hasn’t been involved in government at all this year,” Schefelbein said. “Then he comes in at the last month wanting to be president, wanting to change all these things. We’ve done a lot this year for USG … and he hasn’t seen that.”

The Daily Egyptian’s news desk can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3397.

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