Drama is brewing in the aftermath of the 2017 USC elections with the second-place slate filing multiple petitions with the USC's Appeals Board, while the winning slate is five points away from potential disqualification.
Team DiBrina filed an appeal regarding by-law 2 violations with the Appeals Board. In a statement to The Gazette, Team DiBrina said they filed three petitions for appeal at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, one hour before the election results were announced. Later that night after the results were announced at the Spoke, the slate filed another four appeal petitions — a total of seven appeals filed on Thursday.
While the nature of the appeals is currently unknown, Team DiBrina's competitor and winner of this year's USC elections, Team Tobi, stands at 26 demerit points, with 31 being the disqualification threshold.
The Appeals Board is supposed to decide within 48 hours of receiving an appeal petition if it will consider the case.
If it decides to take on the appeal, "the board contacts the petitioner, the respondent and intervenors as of right, and a panel is selected to hear the appeal. Only then can the hearing be scheduled and thus made public," according to board chair Laura Lepine.
As of yet, no notice has been put on the USC website inviting intervenors as required by USC by-laws and no information has been made public about the appeal.
In the past, appeal hearings have been held within a week of the board taking on the case, but that's not an exact time frame, according to Lepine.
The Appeal Board's decision may directly follow a hearing on the same day or be released with written reasoning within two weeks of the hearing.
In the event any appeals take Team Tobi's demerit count over 30 points, Team DiBrina could be the winners by default. Team DiBrina came second in the 2017 elections, 996 votes behind Team Tobi.
A similar scenario occurred two years ago when USC slate Team Litchfield edged out Team Sophie by 32 votes. When demerit points were tallied, Team Litchfield had 30 — one shy of disqualification.
Team Sophie appealed the demerit points awarded to Team Litchfield. After weeks of deliberation, the USC Appeals Board awarded Team Litchfield two more demerit points — a total of 32 — enough to be disqualified. As a result, Team Sophie won the 2015 USC election.
Currently, Team Tobi has received the second highest number of demerits for winning presidential candidates since at least 2000, the first being Team Litchfield.
Before Litchfield, the most demerit points a winning slate had accrued was by Tom Stevenson who won the presidency in 2007. Stevenson was awarded 18 demerit points as a result of two separate infractions, both of which were committed by members of his campaign team.
The chair of the Appeals Board, Laura Lepine, could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.