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Deal May Have Lifted Liston

By Jeremy L. Mccarter

Undergraduate Council members are attributing Sunday night's stunning presidential victory by Joshua D. Liston '95 to an agreement between Liston and former candidate and outgoing vice president Brandon C. Gregoire '95.

Newly elected undergraduate Council Vice President Justin C. Label '97 said last night that Liston and Gregoire admitted that they worked together to prevent candidate Randall A. Fine '96 from becoming president.

Label described a lunch conversation that occurred between Gregoire, Liston and himself last Tuesday. At that time, Label said, the two presidential candidates said they did not want Fine to become president because of his unethical dealings on the council.

In his first year, Fine was accused of using his status as a council member to obtain a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, which he allegedly pocketed. And council members accused Fine last week of doctoring the newly approved council constitution without their consent.

In the event of a runoff in Sunday's election, Label said last night that Gregoire and Liston had decided to use their influence to make sure Fine did not win.

Council press liaison Greg F. Corbett '96 said last night that he believes the alliance between Liston and Gregoire extended to Gregoire's decision to drop out of the race.

"I would believe that there was a planned alliance between Brandon Gregoire and Josh Liston prior to the debate and after the debate solely for the purposes of helping Josh Liston win thecouncil presidency," he said.

Corbett said he believes Liston and Gregoirehad planned to work together in the election allsemester.

"They both drew support from the council, andthen Brandon shifted his support over to Josh,"Corbett said.

Liston denied Label and Corbett's accusationslast night, saying only that he ran for thepresidency because he was the best candidate forthe position.

"The reason why I ran for council president isbecause I thought I would do the best job andreally for no other reason," he said yesterday.

Gregoire denied working together with Liston todefeat Fine and denied dropping out of the race tohelp Liston.

"I don't go around helping other people,"Gregoire said last night. "I do what's best forme."

Label said Gregoire and Liston told him theywanted to ensure Fine's defeat because Fine haddeceived people about his character.

"They tried to convince me that it was not inmy interests to have Randy win," Label said. "Theysaid that [Fine] would not support me as vicepresident and that he would bring his own peopleup and put them in positions."

Label also said that Gregoire was alreadyhaving serious second thoughts about his candidacyseveral days before dropping out.

At a council-sponsored debate among thepresidential candidates Wednesday night, Gregoireaccused Fine and former president David L.Hanselman '94-'95, of committing grossconstitutional violations as executives two yearsago.

Gregoire dropped out of the race a day later.

Label said that after expressing his doubtsover lunch on Tuesday, Gregoire related to him theaccusations that he would make the next night.

Liston admitted last night to having hadcontact with Gregoire between their lunch withLabel and Gregoire's withdrawal from the race, butclaimed to have had no prior knowledge ofGregoire's withdrawal.

"I don't know everything that went on inBrandon's mind throughout the course of lastweek," Liston said.

"He didn't mention [withdrawing form therace]," Liston said.

Reactions from current and former councilmembers ranged from disappointment to anger.

"It's so nice to see those so concerned aboutethics in their speeches be so concerned aboutethics in their actions," Fine said.

Council member N. Van Taylor '96-'95 said hesuspected that Liston and Gregoire were workingtogether.

"Brandon just [attacked Fine at the debate]time and time again," Taylor said. "It was clearto me that they were working together againstRandy."

"Unfortunately, it's part of the democraticprocess," Taylor added, "But it's a shameless wayof subverting the process."

Taylor also criticized Liston's work habitsfrom this past semester, including his expulsionfor excessive absences.

"I hope Liston works 100 times harder than hedid last semester," Taylor said. "That's the onlyway he's going to show up for every meeting."

Hanselman said Liston's actions call intoquestion his moral authority.

"The situation doesn't call into question thelegitimacy of Josh Liston's election per se, butit does bring into question his moral authority tolead the U.C.," Hanselman said.

But Fine said the alleged collusion called intoquestion the legitimacy of the newly electedcouncil.

"I think that if Brandon and Josh workedtogether in a conspiracy to ruin the reputation ofmyself and David Hanselman that would cast aserious doubt on the beginning of thisadministration," he said

Corbett said he believes Liston and Gregoirehad planned to work together in the election allsemester.

"They both drew support from the council, andthen Brandon shifted his support over to Josh,"Corbett said.

Liston denied Label and Corbett's accusationslast night, saying only that he ran for thepresidency because he was the best candidate forthe position.

"The reason why I ran for council president isbecause I thought I would do the best job andreally for no other reason," he said yesterday.

Gregoire denied working together with Liston todefeat Fine and denied dropping out of the race tohelp Liston.

"I don't go around helping other people,"Gregoire said last night. "I do what's best forme."

Label said Gregoire and Liston told him theywanted to ensure Fine's defeat because Fine haddeceived people about his character.

"They tried to convince me that it was not inmy interests to have Randy win," Label said. "Theysaid that [Fine] would not support me as vicepresident and that he would bring his own peopleup and put them in positions."

Label also said that Gregoire was alreadyhaving serious second thoughts about his candidacyseveral days before dropping out.

At a council-sponsored debate among thepresidential candidates Wednesday night, Gregoireaccused Fine and former president David L.Hanselman '94-'95, of committing grossconstitutional violations as executives two yearsago.

Gregoire dropped out of the race a day later.

Label said that after expressing his doubtsover lunch on Tuesday, Gregoire related to him theaccusations that he would make the next night.

Liston admitted last night to having hadcontact with Gregoire between their lunch withLabel and Gregoire's withdrawal from the race, butclaimed to have had no prior knowledge ofGregoire's withdrawal.

"I don't know everything that went on inBrandon's mind throughout the course of lastweek," Liston said.

"He didn't mention [withdrawing form therace]," Liston said.

Reactions from current and former councilmembers ranged from disappointment to anger.

"It's so nice to see those so concerned aboutethics in their speeches be so concerned aboutethics in their actions," Fine said.

Council member N. Van Taylor '96-'95 said hesuspected that Liston and Gregoire were workingtogether.

"Brandon just [attacked Fine at the debate]time and time again," Taylor said. "It was clearto me that they were working together againstRandy."

"Unfortunately, it's part of the democraticprocess," Taylor added, "But it's a shameless wayof subverting the process."

Taylor also criticized Liston's work habitsfrom this past semester, including his expulsionfor excessive absences.

"I hope Liston works 100 times harder than hedid last semester," Taylor said. "That's the onlyway he's going to show up for every meeting."

Hanselman said Liston's actions call intoquestion his moral authority.

"The situation doesn't call into question thelegitimacy of Josh Liston's election per se, butit does bring into question his moral authority tolead the U.C.," Hanselman said.

But Fine said the alleged collusion called intoquestion the legitimacy of the newly electedcouncil.

"I think that if Brandon and Josh workedtogether in a conspiracy to ruin the reputation ofmyself and David Hanselman that would cast aserious doubt on the beginning of thisadministration," he said

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