Request filed with SA Court

By Holly Schubert

A candidate for Student Assocaition senator has filed a petition with the SA Supreme Court that could postpone this week’s elections by challenging the constitutionality of the 1986 SA redistricting plan.

Off-campus candidate Andy Shankman’s petition claims the 1986 redistricting plan is unconstitutional in that it “denies representation within the SA senate of numerous classes of students, of which I am one, and systematically insures overrepresentation within the SA senate of students from the same geographical area, social affiliation and pursuit of study within the university.”

Senate Speaker Joe Annunzio said if the court rules in favor of Shankman, senate elections scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday could be postponed indefinitely.

SA Vice President Gregg Bliss said he will request that the court grant an extension because there is not enough time for the senate to prepare an adequate defense before the hearing.

The SA received the petition last Thursday, and the hearing was set for Monday at 8:30 p.m. Bliss said this schedule only allows three days to confront a major issue.

Bliss said he does not think additional time, if granted, would influence the issue. He said the court has never before taken an issue up this quickly, and he wants time to research for precedent cases.

Annunzio said if the court supports Shankman’s petition and SA elections are postponed, the change could cost the SA “a lot” of money and time if students remake fliers and advertisements and reschedule students to man the tables during the elections.

If the elections are delayed, Annunzio said his job as speaker would be harder because he would have to work without a full senate. The senate currently has seven vacanies due to resignations last semester.

Shankman’s petition has met with criticism from Bliss.

“I’m really critical of this type of action. I don’t see what grounds anyone has calling it (the 1986 redistricting plan) unconstitutional,” Bliss said. “How does it deny representation? Elections are open to everyone.”

Redistricting has been an issue in the SA before. Bliss previously proposed a three-district plan, and Annunzio said he is considering a proposal that would included appointed representatives from the Resdience Hall Association and Campus Activities Board.

The 1986 redistricting plan established two voting district. District one, the on-campus district, is represented by 16 senators. District two, the off-campus district, is represented by 32 senators.