CARBONDALE -- An “internal error” has invalidated SIU’s spring Board of Trustees student representative election, forcing a special election this fall.

“It was just a question of eligibility check on all candidates, and there was confusion whether all of those had been fulfilled and checked off,” said President Randy Dunn. “When that track record couldn’t be shown to suffice for our purposes, working with legal counsel, the thinking was better to have no issues raised by any candidate and simply run the election again.”

Board chair Randal Thomas said the irregularity was initially found during an audit by the board’s executive secretary. The board referred the situation back to the Carbondale campus.

“They said we can’t certify that student to serve on the board,” Thomas said.

Senior Adrian Miller of Carbondale won the spring election over freshman Kane Hudson of Peoria, with Miller collecting 60 percent of the vote.

He said he had been vetted by the Carbondale campus and had met all the eligibility requirements to be on the ballot. Miller added the issue is whether all the requirements in the by-laws were followed to run the election efficiently, and he said he doesn’t think they were.

“Essentially, I’m disappointed I wasn’t at today’s (board) meeting,” Miller said. “I do stand by the decision that Dr. Katie (Sermersheim) and the Carbondale campus made in holding a special election. Some of the internal errors that were made by a staff error were really easy to make.”

Miller said he is happy to run in the special election, saying he doesn’t want a cloud to hang over the vote.

“There’s a history of problems with the election process at SIU, and the last thing I want is to be in an elected position that there are questions lingering over the election,” Miller said.

Dunn said the school needs to make sure election missteps like this one are not repeated in the future.

“We've have had a little track record on Carbondale of stubbing our toe on this, and we need to have this be the last time we stub our toe on this,” Dunn said.

A date for a special election has not been set.

Miller said he trusts in the process and believes Katie Sermersheim, interim dean of students, will provide a proper election.

“I’m confident that the dean of students who has been absolutely fantastic throughout all this will oversee a process, an election that is fair for all students,” Miller said. “To be honest, I’m looking forward to the fall semester and getting to ask SIU students for their vote. I thoroughly enjoy getting out there and getting votes.”

An email sent to Hudson was not immediately returned.

Chris Hottensen is the entertainment and features reporter for The Southern Illinoisan.

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