Daily Egyptian

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.


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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6 Responses to “USG President sworn in after Senate rejects election results”

  1. David Bell on May 3rd, 2017 12:03 am

    Several big problems with the article.
    1. The constitution doesn’t actually give the right to the USG to deny the election. It says they WILL ratify it.
    2. The constitution doesn’t say “without the ratification the election is invalid”
    3. You don’t mention either of the larger issues here which are A. The USG decided to try and usurp a democratically elected candidate and the process, B. ignored the will of about 2/3 of the votes that were cast and C. were influenced by members of the GPSC who are seeking to control the USG and make them puppets instead of dealing with a leader they dont think they can control (Josh).

  2. Carrington Spires on May 3rd, 2017 10:24 am

    Does Joshua Bowens have a history with USG already, or is he new to the organization?

  3. Katrina Medernach on May 4th, 2017 5:22 am

    He previously worked with USG, but when he didn’t like where things were going he took a year off.

  4. Yahaira Heller on May 3rd, 2017 10:59 am

    So a couple of things to say about this.
    1. If USG was to conduct any USG business during their banquet it cannot be closed up to the student body or the media i.e. the DE should have had full access to the event.
    2. The actions of Tena Bennet at this meeting is the literal definition of administrative overreach and unfortunately that puts her and her actions in direct conflict with the BOT mandate in regards to the Undergraduate Student Government.
    3. The ratification of the election is necessary and important. Please someone look up the meaning of the word. Example: On a national level when a change to our nations constitution is occurring this change needs to be ratified by the states, otherwise it cannot move forth.
    4. The administration did not respond to any of the students concerns during the election about some glitches with the voting system used.
    5. Statistically 90% of the senate voted against the ratification and collectively they represent more that the 10% of the students who voted. Just saying……

  5. Yahaira Heller on May 3rd, 2017 11:01 am

    Last but not least the executive can not be sworn in without the ratification of the election.

  6. David Bell on May 4th, 2017 11:15 am

    Yahaira Im interested in a few things with your response.
    3. Yes a ratification is needed for a constitutional amendment. However that ratification is done state by state where everyone generally gets a vote and if not the state house at least decides. The federal government doesn’t get to ratify it. Secondly on that point the federal government doesn’t really have the right to decide to change a national election. They simply get to vote like everyone else does. The senate and house do not choose the president.
    4. Im almost willing to bet you anything that there were not enough votes to make up a 400+ vote lead. Maybe some didn’t get to vote and that sucks but I highly doubt so many didnt get to that it would have effected the outcome.
    5. They do represent more than 10%….however only 10% made a decision when given the opportunity. It’s horrible that the senate could hide behind “well the other 90% might not have liked him so we thought we should try to stop him.” No. The senate needs to submit to the will of the voters. Always. Otherwise they are leaning more towards a dictatorship than the direct democracy that has been in place and is supposed to be used.
    6. The ratification simply means “do you accept that the election happened or not?” It doesn’t mean “do you elect Josh Bowens.” If it meant that it wouldn’t be democracy. It is ludicrous and an insult to the students that voted to try and say that their votes were worth less than 20 – 30 senators. Its bad democracy and its a corrupt democracy if we let them do that.

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