ENMU presidential race runs its course

By Michelle Seeber

Brett Trembly, a senior at Eastern New Mexico University, recently was named student body president — but not until waves created by students opposing his election were smoothed out by the student body’s supreme court.
Gary Musgrave, vice president of Student Affairs and Associated Students of Eastern New Mexico University, said there were some reported violations, “so we wanted to make sure the students got a chance to use the process and let it run its course.
“They did, and I think they made the right decisions.”
There were three candidates — Brett Trembly, Fabian Guzman and incumbent Bob Cornelius. Trembly had been declared the winner by popular vote.
However, each camp filed a complaint against the other after the election, Musgrave said.
“Whenever you’ve got that kind of discord, you want to make sure all of the student bodies have a chance to air their grievances,” he said.
The Supreme Court of the Associated Students of Eastern New Mexico University — after hearing all sides — determined Trembly would remain student body president.
The five-member court was made up of students Jared Morris, Susan Dew, Sarah Barger, Shante Hammons and Chief Justice Juan Marquez. Marquez was unable to attend all the hearings.
Once their decisions were made, they recommended to ENMU regents who the new president should be, Musgrave said.
“I’ve been observing this process from the beginning,” he said. “Our students worked hard, and I think they made some good decisions.”
It all began when Guzman was disqualified for allegedly violating the ENMU Code of Elections. At issue was whether he was responsible for an unapproved e-mail going out to Hispanic students that mentioned his candidacy.
Nancy Varelas, an ENMU student advisor, said she distributed the e-mail in an advisory capacity, not because she was promoting Guzman’s campaign.
ENMU student Kane Wyatt, acting as Guzman’s attorney, asked for an election recall.
In addition, Robert Seyler, representing Cornelius, asked that Trembly be disqualified on the grounds that Trembly supporters were accused of escorting students to vote within the 20-foot perimeter of the ballot box.
Then, ENMU student Bob Turnbough circulated a petition on behalf of the student body and got 296 signatures requesting a re-vote.
Trembly denied charges of wrongdoing.
The student supreme court, after hearing all sides, nullified Guzman’s disqualification. They then determined to drop all charges against Trembly.
Their advisor, Ramon Garcia, told the judges to close the matter regarding the petition presented by Turnbough.
Guzman said he had mixed feelings about the outcome.
“It’s so late now in the semester, it’s pretty much out of our control,” he said.
Regarding the accusations made against him, he said, “It was called illegal campaigning. An organization I was a part of sent out an e-mail, but I didn’t have anything to do with it. Things I said at a forum and in The Chase (student newspaper) were in the E-mail. It just provided information about myself.
“It happened the day of the election,” he said of the e-mail. “There was voting behavior on my opponent’s part that wasn’t done by the guidelines. Eighty-two votes were unaccounted for. If they had been accounted for, it might have made the vote closer, even though I wouldn’t have won.”
Asked if he planned to seek the student body president seat again, he said, “I’ll be a senior next year, so I don’t have any plans on running again.”
Neither Cornelius nor Trembly could be reached for comment.