Following Judicial Council review of Election Code Violation, Gilbert ’21 wins MCSG special election


Photo by Lindsay Weber ’21.

Lindsay Weber

An unexpected vacancy in the sophomore class representative position prompted a special election to fill the role for the Spring semester. This election occurred alongside the MCSG Executive Board Election and Spring 2019 SOC Chair special election on Feb. 25 and 26.

Hannah Gilbert ’21 and Joe Bentley ’21 both ran for the vacant seat. The candidates began their campaigns after the candidates meeting on Feb. 18.

During the campaigning period, Bentley posted two videos of Macalester staff endorsing his candidacy — men’s basketball coach Abe Woldeslassie, and Bon Appétit staff member Jabari Pierre — in the Macalester Class of 2021 Facebook page. According to MCSG election code, staff endorsements for campaigning purposes are prohibited.

“I actually found out [about the rule] from my opponent about 10 minutes after I made the post,” said Bentley. “So apparently this was a rule, but I didn’t know about it. I don’t wanna say they didn’t mention it in the campaign meeting, but I don’t remember hearing it.”

MCSG President Malik Mays ’19 explained that following the election code is a responsibility that falls to each individual candidate.

“We have the candidates meeting in order to discuss [the election code].” Mays said. “However, I don’t go through all the election code … the candidates are responsible for reading the election code and following it regardless of what I say at the candidates meeting.”

Mays noted that he did go over campaign rules during the candidates meeting, including the staff endorsement rule. Associate Dean of Students Andrew Wells confirmed this.

The Election Procedures Committee reviewed the incident and removed Bentley from the ballot. Bentley formally appealed their decision.

“[The appeal] goes to the Judicial Council which is headed by [Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students] DeMethra Bradley,” Mays said.

Bentley met with the Judicial Council on Monday, March 4th, and his appeal was denied.

“Their ruling said that I broke rule 4B, because I accepted [the] endorsement from Abe [Woldeslassie], and sought endorsement from Jabari [Pierre],” Bentley said.

Bentley confirmed that neither he nor his two staff endorsers were aware of the rule prior to posting the videos on Facebook.

“[The Judicial Council] didn’t mention how I could access the rules or anything like that, but that was on me and I admit it that I could have looked for it,” he said.

In light of Bentley’s disqualification, Gilbert will fill the sophomore representative role for the rest of the spring semester. MCSG has not publicly released information on which of these candidates won a voting majority prior to Bentley’s disqualification.

“I would certainly have preferred that the election was not this way,” Gilbert said. “However, I am grateful to the Election Procedures Committee and the Judicial Council for taking the integrity of the election seriously and for all of their time and efforts.”

Despite the outcome of this election, Bentley remains hopeful about his future on MCSG.

“I’m gonna run in the next election,” he said.

Photo by Lindsay Weber ’21.