Roman-Leverett campaign disqualified from SGA presidential election

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Editor’s note: Following an appeal to the SGA Student Tribunal, Paloma Roman’s campaign has been reinstated and will remain on the ballot. Additional coverage is available here.

Student body presidential candidate Paloma Roman’s campaign has been suspended from the Kansas State student body presidential race due to “multiple violations regarding the general campaign expense reports,” according to sources familiar with the matter.

The decision to suspend the campaign, made by elections commissioner Corbin Sedlacek in consultation with Student Governing Association adviser Bill Harlan, disqualifies Roman and running mate Michael Leverett’s campaign, pending a potential appeal.

The decision comes after a 7 a.m. hearing Monday during which Sedlacek conducted a meeting to investigate an elections complaint filed by Stephen Kucera, graduate student in accounting and SGA student support director, alleging “multiple violations regarding the general campaign expense reports.”

“The decision to file a complaint was a challenge for me because I felt torn in different ways,” Kucera said. “Student government, particularly, student government elections require a lot of institutional knowledge and it’s difficult for outsiders to the process to participate in the elections. Particularly this year, inadequate support is provided.”

Documentation of the meeting states that the Roman-Leverett campaign was found to be in violation of the elections rules for failing to submit a complete expense and contribution report, preventing Sedlacek from investigating the grand total spent on campaign materials, as well as how much the campaign received in student contributions.

The document also states that the Roman-Leverett campaign violated campaign rules restricting candidates from receiving more than $20 from students who wish to support their campaign. The document said seven students had submitted more than that amount to the Roman-Leverett campaign, and that the campaign had listed contributions from non-students as part of its contribution report.

According to the document, the Roman-Leverett campaign also failed to disclose the direct sale of sweatshirts from Thread as part of its expense report. As sweatshirt purchases were made directly through Thread, the campaign was unable to account for all purchases made.

SGA statutes state that all physical campaign materials must be distributed by personal interaction, and that “any actual funds utilized to promote or oppose the election of any individual to any office” shall be considered campaign materials subject to reporting in a campaign’s expense report.

Following the decision Jordan Kiehl, junior in industrial engineering and current SGA chief of staff, remains the only candidate on the ballot for student body president.

Her path to student body president, should she remain the only candidate on the ballot, is not yet clear, as speaker of the student senate Jonathan Peuchen has asked the SGA Student Tribunal to help interpret SGA procedures for the unusual situation. Peuchen said he was not sure if the situation is precedented.

The Kiehl-Pitts campaign’s expense report also faced scrutiny Monday evening as the result of a separate complaint filed by Kucera. The complaint sought to clarify discrepancies in the final numbers reported by the campaign, and Sedlacek is set to deliver a final decision in the case by late Monday evening.

Harlan declined to comment on the situation.

The Collegian will update this story as it develops.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that Jordan Kiehl is set to be K-State’s next student body president. The article has been updated to state that she is the only candidate left on the ballot, and her election to the position of student body president, should she remain the sole candidate on the ballot, is pending a review and interpretation by the SGA Student Tribunal on how to handle such a situation.

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Rafael Garcia
I'm Rafael Garcia, and I'm a 2019 K-State graduate in journalism and former editor-in-chief of the K-State Collegian. I believe that much of the world's problems come from a lack of understanding of other people, but by telling other people's stories and finding the good in the world, I think we can increase our understanding and appreciation of each other. Questions, comments, concerns, news tips? Email the Collegian team at news@kstatecollegian.com.