UT Neutral As Travis County Judge Halts Student Elections

Nothing in politics—at the national, state, or even university level—is ever simple, and this year’s campus-wide UT Student Government elections are no exception.

Student Government presidential and vice presidential candidates Madison Gardner and Antonio Guevara were disqualified from the race earlier this month for featuring Student Events Center president candidate Carissa Kelly on campaign materials—a violation of the election code.

Now, Gardner and Guevara have filed a suit against the University, claiming the election code violates their First Amendment right to associate freely. And a Travis County judge this week agreed, issuing an injunction that will postpone the presidential elections for at least two weeks. All other elections continued today as scheduled.

Though the University hasn’t incurred any out-of-pocket costs—the legal work is being handled by UT’s legal office and the Attorney General—a considerable amount of time has been spent on the suit in the last few days, according to vice president for legal affairs Patricia Ohlendorf.

Ohlendorf also revealed that, at a hearing yesterday, the University expressed neutrality concerning the suit while the Attorney General’s office presented on behalf of Student Government.

This is the first time in 15 years a suit has been filed regarding Student Government elections. In 1997, students were granted a restraining order with respect to an election rule.

Photo by Thomas Allison. Courtesy the Daily Texan.


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