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Ben-Alex placed on year-long probation following ASCSU Court ruling

 

After a hearing held last Tuesday in regards to two appeals about the Ben-Alex campaign, the Associated Students of Colorado State University’s Supreme Court has reached a decision.

After finding the campaign to be in violation of several articles of the ASCSU Code of Ethics, the Court has created a year-long probationary period for both President-elect Ben Amundson and Vice President-elect Alex Farias.

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According to the decision, both the president-elect and the vice-president elect will be allowed to serve in their elected roles, though violations of Article I of ASCSU’s Code of Ethics will result in harsher punishments.

At some point, it’s time to move on and think of what the student needs are.”

Tristan Syron, past ASCSU president

The Court has also required both candidates to create an educational plan with the incoming Chief Justice and the ASCSU Supreme Court advisors. This is to be done no later than the end of the fall semester.

At minimum, the educational plan should include a letter of apology to The Collegian, and demonstrate learning and sincere remorse, according to the decision. Completion of this plan offers an opportunity to remove probationary status, though this can be done no earlier than the spring semester.

The original appeals, filed by Chris Jewell and Hannah Taylor, outlined violations in both the ASCSU Code of Ethics and the CSU Student Conduct Code.

The Court ruled that any violation of the Student Conduct Code to be outside their jurisdiction. Alleged violations of this code were not considered by the Court, according to the decision.

The appeals described violations under the CSU Student Conduct Code to include abusive behavior, damage, disruptive behavior and theft.

Violations under the ASCSU Elections Code were also considered. These included violations of campaigning, which the Court ruled to have already been addressed by the Elections Committee.

Violations that were considered and dealt with in regards to the ASCSU Code of Ethics included articles about understanding their role as part of the organization, as officials and as citizens. The Court ruled that Amundson and Farias were not in violation of the latter two, as a result of not enough evidence. They were, however, ruled to be in violation of the article defining their roles as citizens.

In a unanimous vote, the Court also found the campaign to be in violation of an article prohibiting officials of ASCSU from acting in a manner that may be damaging to be the image of ASCSU.

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The campaign was also found to have provided false information through a discrepancy between the campaign video and statements made in news articles.

Prior to the announcement of the appeals, former Chief Justice Maddison Taylor stepped down from her position in order to prevent a conflict of interest should something like this happen.

“I was a vice presidential candidate in the past and I just saw a glaring conflict of interest that I had no interest in trying to maneuver around,” Taylor said. “I wanted to do the honorable and truthful thing.”

Taylor said that, with things like honesty and transparency, she wanted to be active rather than reactive.

“Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to do this,” Taylor said. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had. It’s provided me with some wonderful experiences and opportunities.”

In regards to the appeals, Tristan Syron, president of the last ASCSU Senate, said that he hopes for summer to heal all wounds.

“It’s a story right now because it’s happening. In three weeks, none of this really matters,” Syron said. “The nature of all this is that it’s internally focused. We’re battling very internally right now.”

Syron said he hopes for the Senate to start looking at whether or not what is being done is affecting students outside the organization.

“This is legitimate but it’s taking so much time and so much focus,” Syron said. “At some point, it’s time to move on and think of what the student needs are. Under my term, we wouldn’t have put this much time on this. In my mind, it is a lack of productivity.”

Syron said he hopes that, by the end of the court rulings and announcements, the organization will be internally clean, and that there is both forgiveness and acceptance in all parties involved.

Amundson declined to provide a comment to The Collegian.

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @chartrickwrites.

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