The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees is on the receiving end of a lawsuit alleging that the student trustee was elected in a race in which he shouldn’t have been allowed to run. Nolan Sharkey lost the student-trustee seat to Jesse Cler in April. Sharkey and his attorney, Darrel Dunham, say Cler shouldn’t have been on the ballot because he didn’t have enough valid signatures on his petition to run.
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“(Cler) did not properly identify the people that had signed his petition,” Dunham said. “And there were other irregularities. It was decided by the election board that he did not comply and he should not be on the ballot.” Dunham says an official in the Agriculture Department sent an e-mail to a group of students in support of Cler, an alleged violation of the Student Trustee Election Laws.
“I think it was just highly inappropriate for any faculty matter to intervene in a student election to favor one student as opposed to the other,” Dunham said. “I would have never done anything like that, and I’m sure if I did, I would have been disciplined.”
Cler would have a vote on the board as one of two student trustees. The other is a symbolic position. Dunham says he wants either all of the votes cast for Cler voided, or a new election with more oversight.