Freshman Sebastian Johnson, one of two candidates running for President of Blair's Student Government Association (SGA), was disqualified after reading an unapproved speech to Blair's student body via BNC.
The SGA held elections April 9 and 10 for the positions of class executives. Each of the candidates was allowed to read a speech to the school. The speech Johnson chose to read was "not approved" by the SGA, said SGA faculty sponsor Rondai Ravilious.
According to Ravilious, the SGA asked Johnson to change his speech because the speech contained aspirations to reinstate freak dancing and include break dancing and the Diva Dancers in pep rallies. It also criticized the SGA for not representing the students in a government-like manner. "He violated a rule that he was very much aware of," said Ravilious.
Junior Vice President Alex Berger said that Johnson was warned that his speech contained unacceptable information and was asked to adjust it. "Ms. Ravilious and Ms. Smrek met with Sebastian to make changes, which Sebastian agreed to make," Berger commented. "But when he read his speech, he didn't make the necessary changes."
Johnson had read the speech to the SGA officials, who told him to edit several statements within the speech. "I was told to say the same things, but differently. I was obviously confused about the instruction given to me." However, Johnson said that he wouldn't have changed his speech, even if that meant being disqualified.
The administration deemed Johnson's speech both libelous and slanderous. Johnson thought labels were innacurate. "I talked to a law teacher earlier, who disagrees with the accusations of libel and slander."
Although many students object to the disqualification, the SGA and administration agree with the decision. "It was a unanimous decision that the [presentation] wasn't appropriate," Ravilious said.
In protest of the decision, many supporters of Johnson have circulated petitions and literature explaining their view of the situation, including freshman Alex Gold. Gold assisted in passing out fliers to students along Blair Blvd. on the morning of Apr 9. For his actions, Gold was sent to the main office and questioned about his motives by Assistant Principal Linda Wanner. "I felt that it was a clear attempt to scare me into not participating further in my demonstration…she threatened to call my parents, which she had nothing to call them about."
Johnson considered the actions unprovoked. "I think that the situation with Alex Gold was a direct attack by the administration of his constitutional rights," he said.
Wanner declined to comment.
As elections have ended, it is too late to act upon any notion to nominate another candidate for the position. Junior Denise Sylla, Johnson's opposition, will run unopposed for the position of the President of Blair's SGA.
Although this may unfair for only one candidate to run for the position, current SGA president Sara Furlow ran unopposed last year. According to the SGA, this has not affected its operation or status.
Alan Coleman. Alan Coleman is currently a junior in the CAP program. '04 Baby! He is a writer on <i>Silver Chips Online</i> and a Sports Writer for <i>Silver Chips</i> print. During the winter, Alan wrestles. This season, he had a remarkable 8-6 record (not bad for a … More »