Investigation concludes; Barone retains title as executive president

by Beacon Staff • April 19, 2006

After an inquiry into Barone's campaign practices, no wrongdoing was found, and he will retain his title as president, according to Associate Dean of Students Sharon Duffy.,Although Student Government Association (SGA) elections were held last month, the student body was, for several weeks, unsure of who would be next year's executive president, as president-elect Jamal Barone became the subject of a campaign investigation.

After an inquiry into Barone's campaign practices, no wrongdoing was found, and he will retain his title as president, according to Associate Dean of Students Sharon Duffy.

The investigation was concluded April 11, at which time Barone's opponent David Vaughan, Dean of Students Ronald Ludman and current SGA president Kirsten Daniel were informed of the decision.

Vaughan, who brought the charges against Barone, is SGA Chief Justice and would have conducted the investigation himself but could not because he ran against Barone, Duffy said. Duffy instead considered the charges, she said.

Vaughan, a junior organizational and political communication major, said he filed charges after a student raised a concern about something Barone did at a computer lab in the Walker Building. Students were able to vote online from any computer, including those in the lab. Candidates may not campaign in polling places, Vaughan said. He declined to specify Barone's alleged transgression.

Barone, a junior marketing communication major, said he was never informed of the specific nature of the charges brought against him.

"I knew that I ran my campaign honestly, so I'm glad [the investigation] is over," he said.

Barone said that to avoid future allegations regarding campaign practices, the computer kiosks outside of the Little Building dining hall could be exclusively designated as polls.

Vaughan said that in Duffy's investigation, she found that only seven people had voted from the lab in question. According to SGA Elections Commissioner Brad Dye, Barone won by 69 votes. Because of the margin, Duffy determined that any wrongdoing would not have had enough of an impact to change the outcome of the election, Vaughan said.

"The investigation just stalled and delayed things," Barone said. "I hope in the end, people realized that this grievance wasn't really that strong."

Daniel, a senior theatre education major, said that she is confident in Barone's future as SGA president.

"He's a really positive individual who really wants to continue my hope of reaching more students," she said.

Although, for a time, Barone's role as future SGA president was in question, some students said they were uninterested in the investigation.

"I don't really care about it," said freshman film major Orson Oblowitz. He said he was not aware of SGA elections in the first place and therefore was indifferent about the subsequent investigation.

Others, such as junior marketing communication major Katryn Geane said that students should have been better informed about the situation.

"[The SGA] should have been more forthcoming with information [about the investigation], because we have the right to know what's going on with our own elections," she said.

Geane said she believes that Barone was the right choice for the position.

"I think Jamal has really good ideas, and I think with the right support, he can bring those ideas to fruition and make really good things happen for our school," she said.

According to Barone, those ideas include creating a monthly forum for students to pose questions to SGA members and working with the Boston Police Department to ensure safety on and around the Emerson campus.

"My whole campaign was about, 'I'm a student, just like you . I'd be more than honored to represent you,'" he said.