After week of sanctions, Kelly’s student body presidential campaign disqualified

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Student body presidential candidate Ryan Kelly (File photo | Collegian Media Group)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include information from both candidates and the elections commissioner, as well as a resolution calling for the removal from office of the elections commissioner to be heard at the SGA senate meeting tonight.

In a cap to a week marked with multiple elections hearings and sanctions, student body presidential candidate Ryan Kelly’s campaign was found to be in violation of another two elections regulations Thursday morning, resulting in his disqualification from the race.

“This is a major violation against the Kelly Campaign,” a statement from the SGA elections committee said. “It is their 5th violation overall. The board found that the Kelly campaign has not complied with the regulations of the statutes and the rulings of the Elections Board and should be removed from candidacy for Student Body President.”

The first violation hearing of the day, at 6:30 a.m., was in response to a complaint filed by Jonathan Cole, which accused Kelly of campaigning inside the Center for Student Involvement. At the hearing, Kristen Schau, elections commissioner, played a video submitted as evidence that shows Kelly responding to previous sanctions. Neither the complainant, Jonathan Cole, nor representatives from Kelly’s campaign were present at the hearing.

About an hour later, the elections committee held an additional meeting for a hearing on a separate complaint against Kelly’s campaign. The complaint, filed by Mathew Orzechowski, who was not in attendance at the hearing, was filed as a follow-up to previous sanctions ordering him to revise his campaign expense report and to take down his campaign’s website.

At the time of the second hearing, which no representatives from Kelly’s campaign attended either, Kelly had not taken down the website. He did submit a revised report that included additional expenses for chalking efforts, but did not include any of the expenses he had been ordered to report.

On the first violation, Kelly was found guilty of campaigning in his SGA office and was ordered to email an apology to Kelly Farris, executive director for student involvement. On the second violation the elections commission found against the Kelly campaign, it was determined that the offense amounted to a major violation of SGA elections statutes and disqualified him from the race.

On Wednesday afternoon, a video surfaced of Kelly asking another student to file a complaint against his campaign. When the student pressed Kelly on his reasoning for wanting that, Kelly said he wanted to be disqualified from the race. Kelly’s campaign later released a statement that read:

““Our intent was to file these violations proactively after a similar violation from our campaign was brought to our attention. I asked Patrick in confidence to do so my behalf [sic] because of concerns raised by members of our campaign. This did not violate any Student Governing Association rules.

“We are being so vocal about the very violations we wanted to file because they are a clear sign of the systemic issues that do nothing but hurt the productivity and accessibility of the Student Governing Association. Our campaign began on the platform of Your Vision, Our Mission. Our Mission is to bring these problems to the attention of the student body, no matter the cost.”

Asked if he would appeal the ruling, Kelly declined to comment.

Per a statement from the elections committee, next week’s general election will continue as planned, and Penny’s campaign will be the only campaign on the ballot. Penny said that his campaign would release a statement on Kelly’s disqualification later today.

A full list of violations from this elections season is available here.

At tonight’s SGA senate meeting, senators will hear a resolution calling for Schau’s removal from office under her position as SGA elections commissioner.

The resolution, which is co-authored by Kelly, claims that in following the logic of previous sanctions against his campaign, he included expenses for all student services and talent provided to his campaign, totaling up to $3,916.32 and grossly exceeding the limit of self, non-student, and student contributions by $3,706.32.

The resolution goes on to claim that upon learning of this in the Kelly’s revised campaign expense report, Schau failed to file a violation within 24 hours after discovery of the suspected violation.

“This inaction is a display of nonfeasance, or failure to perform an act that is required by law,” the resolution states, arguing that it is grounds for removal from office.

An action to remove from office Schau would require at least two-thirds of the senate to vote against Schau for “misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance” in her duties.

Schau said she would address the proposed removal from office at the senate meeting.

This is a developing story. Check back with the Collegian for updates later today.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article state that a write-in candidate may win the election. No write-ins will be allowed during the election.

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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.