U.C. Misconduct May Invalidate Referendum

Constitutional Violations Are Seen

A number of charges about the conduct of Undergraduate Council members in collecting votes on the fee hike referendum may invalidate the results, Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III said yesterday.

Council members violated both their constitution and referendum rules of conduct when they tabled at their own houses and without members of house committees present, council officials said.

In addition, ballots collected Wednesday were left unsecured in the council office, and at least one council member was charged with antagonizing voters.

"I didn't know these things were going on," said council President Carey W. Gabay '94. "I'm trying to make sure that the election is run fairly, but at the same time I have to try to stay away from the administration of the vote."

Unfortunately for the council, as Gabay distances himself Epps said the administration is closing in. In fact, Epps said the new charges would be dealt with at an emergency meeting of the Committee on College Life on Monday afternoon.


"These various allegations are very serious, and they could have the effect of invalidating this referendum," Epps said. "It sounds like things are a bit out of control, and I think the administration is going to have to take a more active role."

After conducting a full day of referendum tabling, the council discovered at Wednesday night's executive board meeting that its constitution prohibits members from conducting balloting at their own houses.

The council's constitution specifically stipulates that "no member shall be able to tabulate or proctor votes with his/her district."

"That clause wasn't brought to our attention until [Wednesday] night," said council Vice President Joshua D. Liston '95. "There was no original edict, but last night we did reschedule everybody for tabling."

But according to council member Greg J. Davis '94-'96, Liston had initially said that council members could not table at their own houses and then changed his mind when he was handling out the referendum packages Tuesday night.

"Originally we were told that we couldn't, but then Josh said we could," Davis said. "And I asked him several times to make sure I heard him right, but he specifically asked me to table at my house."

Council members James W. Fields '95 said that he too was originally told to table at his own house by Liston. And those instructions were never revised.

"Josh Liston made no mention of the fact that tabling at my house was inappropriate," Fields said. "I was never officially notified that I should not do that."

In addition, most council members violated another code of referendum conduct--this one set specifically for the referendum vote.

"The council voted to have one council memberand one house committee member at each votingstation," Liston said. "But a lot of the housecommittees were not cooperative, or else theycouldn't get enough people to table, and yes, alot of U.C. members tabled alone."

Former council Vice-President Melissa Garza '94charged that Liston had been negligent innotifying house committees that they would becharged with this responsibility.