By Michelle Seeber: Freedom Newspapers
Brett Trembly, a senior at Eastern New Mexico University, recently was named student body president — but not until waves created by students opposing his election were smoothed out by the student body’s supreme court.
Gary Musgrave, vice president of student affairs and associated students at ENMU, said there were some reported violations, “so we wanted to make sure the students got a chance to use the process and let it run its course.
“They did, and I think they made the right decisions.”
Trembly had been declared the winner by popular vote after receiving 278 votes. The two other candidates were Fabian Guzman (159 votes) and incumbent Bob Cornelius (217 votes).
However, each camp filed a complaint against the other after the election, Musgrave said.
“Whenever you’ve got that kind of discord, you want to make sure all of the student bodies have a chance to air their grievances,” he said.
Eastern’s supreme court of associated students — after hearing all sides — determined Trembly would remain student body president.
The five-member court is made up of students Jared Morris, Susan Dew, Sarah Barger, Shante Hammons and Chief Justice Juan Marquez. Marquez was unable to attend all the hearings.
“I’ve been observing this process from the beginning,” Musgrave said. “Our students worked hard, and I think they made some good decisions.”
Complaints about the election began when Guzman was disqualified for allegedly violating the ENMU Code of Elections. At issue was whether he was responsible for an unapproved e-mail going out to Hispanic students that mentioned his candidacy.
Nancy Varelas, an ENMU student advisor, said she distributed the e-mail in an advisory capacity, not because she was promoting Guzman’s campaign. Guzman said the e-mail was sent on election day April 15.
ENMU student Kane Wyatt, acting as Guzman’s attorney, asked for an election recall.
In addition, Robert Seyler, representing Cornelius, asked that Trembly be disqualified on the grounds that his supporters were accused of escorting students to vote within the 20-foot perimeter of the ballot box.
Trembly denied charges of wrongdoing, Musgrave said.
The student supreme court, after hearing all sides, nullified Guzman’s disqualification. They then determined to drop all charges against Trembly.
Also at odds with the process was ENMU student Bob Turnbough, who last week circulated a petition on behalf of the student body and got 296 signatures requesting a re-vote.
The supreme court’s advisor, Ramon Garcia, told the judges to close the matter regarding the petition presented by Turnbough.
Guzman said he had mixed feelings about the outcome.
“It’s so late now in the semester, it’s pretty much out of our control,” he said.
Regarding the accusations made against him, he said, “It was called illegal campaigning. An organization I was a part of sent out an e-mail, but I didn’t have anything to do with it. Things I said at a forum and in The Chase (student newspaper) were in the e-mail. It just provided information about myself.”
Neither Cornelius nor Trembly could be reached for comment.