Investigation clears Cardinal Connection of campaign wrongdoing

	<p>For the next two days students will vote to decide the next four students to represent the student body. </p>

For the next two days students will vote to decide the next four students to represent the student body.

A student government investigation into a campaign wrongdoing has cleared Cardinal Connection, a Student Government Association official said Monday.

The primary concerns included whether Alyssa France, current SGA vice president, leaked questions to the Cardinal Connection slate ahead of the debates.

The elections board found no evidence of France or Cardinal Connection committing any violations, said Alex Sventeckis, elections board chairman.

Sventeckis acknowledged the difficulty of finding evidence during the investigation that lasted about two weeks.

“We’re looking at it like a puzzle,” he said hours prior to the announcement. “We’re trying to piece together the different parts of it. It’s still very inconclusive.”

The elections code has no rules regarding slates receiving debate questions ahead of time, though France denied helping regardless.

“That’s absolutely not true,” she said. “I heard someone said that. That’s absolutely not true; I would never do that.”

Nick Wilkey, Cardinal Connection presidential nominee, said Carli Hendershot, vice presidential candidate, met with France to discuss the responsibilities of being the SGA vice president, but denied that she had given them questions.

France acknowledged that she met with Hendershot.

“It’s the same advice I would have given Gabbi [Bunn, vice presidential candidate for Empower], had she ever contacted me, but she didn’t,” France said.

The elections code also has no rules governing interaction between members of the current executive board and those running in the election.

But Jennifer Jones-Hall, Office of Student Life director, said she discourages executive boards from engaging in the debates.

“I have a conversation with the current [executive board],” Jones-Hall said. “They should not support a slate, they should not meet with a slate; they should remain unbiased.“

Debate moderator Payne Horning said he developed a majority of the questions. He also considered questions from student media and members of the SGA executive board, including France, for the vice presidential and presidential debates.

Of the questions France submitted, she was allowed to ask two during the vice presidential debate.

Horning said he emailed the questions to debate coordinator Katelynn Thys and to Sventeckis only for review ahead of time. People reading questions during the debate did not receive copies until arriving at the events, he said.

“I didn’t even know which questions they were asking until I got there that evening,” France said.

The elections board had not contacted France or Horning about the investigation prior to Sunday.

Sventeckis said the elections board will defer to the SGA Judicial Court, which has the ability to pursue the investigation further if it deems necessary.

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