Pending a public hearing next Wednesday, the IU Supreme Court decided Thursday night to grant temporary relief for SPARC for IU’s disqualification from the IUSA election.
According to a press release from the Court, they granted the injunction because: “The Court has concluded that a successful appeal is possible, that the harm posed to the SPARC would be irreparable and severe, that other parties would not be significantly harmed by granting temporary injunctive relief, and that it is in the public interest to allow SPARC to continue their campaign until a final decision has been reached.”
The ticket was declared ineligible by the Election Commission Wednesday night after Thomas Dauer, candidate for vice president of congress, withdrew from the race.
SPARC candidates submitted a petition to the Court Thursday, requesting that their disqualification from the IUSA election be revoked immediately, with hopes of participating in Thursday’s debate.
Ty Nocita, SPARC’s candidate for Chief of Staff, did not confirm that SPARC would have dropped out of the race if the Supreme Court allowed them to run but did not allow them to participate in the debate. However, he said he felt that if SPARC had not been allowed to debate, it was likely that they would not have been able to win the election.
“We think that it is in everybody’s interest that the democratic process be respected,” Nocita said. “To deny us the opportunity to debate would be to deny the University a chance for dialogue.”
Nocita said SPARC asked the Election Commission for advice and feels the ticket was pressured to allow Dauer to withdraw. Dauer would not have withdrawn, Nocita said, if he knew that SPARC would be disqualified as a result.
Election Commissioner Melody Mostow said the Election Commission told Fletcher and Nocita that except under extenuating circumstances, SPARC would not be allowed to replace Dauer after the application deadline. The Commission asked for proof of extenuating circumstances, she said, and did not receive that information from SPARC. Mostow said this situation is unusual and she has not heard of similar cases.
Nocita met with Hoosiers 4 Solutions presidential candidate Casey Shelburne and YOUniversity presidential candidate Jose Mitjavila to discuss the petition and ask for support should the Supreme Court grant SPARC’s request to participate in the debate.
SPARC originally submitted a petition to have Melody Mostow removed from the post of Election Commissioner, as well, but agreed to remove the petition after presidential candidates from the other tickets objected to it.
Before the court issued the injunction relief, Shelburne said that Hoosiers 4 Solutions would support SPARC’s right to participate in the debate.
“We want the fairest election possible,” he said. “We will respect the decision of the Supreme Court.”
Before seeing the press release, Mitjavila said he thought this situation shows some instability in SPARC’s ticket. He said he found that worrisome, but he would welcome the competition if SPARC was allowed to debate.
“We wouldn’t want to exclude anybody on any small technicalities,” he said. “One thing that I’ve loved about this election year is the fact that there’s so much competition, and competition is the best thing for IUSA elections.