The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
‘The stuff of dreams’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 11, 2024

As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Student body president candidate’s disqualification upheld by Texas A&M Judicial Court

Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver
David Cabrera

UPDATE: On Feb. 19, The Texas A&M Judicial Court argued and decided the case of Cabrera’s disqualification and upheld Schaffer’s decision to disqualify Cabrera from the student body president race.
The majority opinion states: “With regards to the eligibility of Mr. Salas for Fall 2019, the court was not able to make a decision for or against the candidate. While we uphold the Election Commisioner’s disqualification based on the Spring 2019 eligibility check, we lacked the necessary mechanisms to review the issues brought forth by the extenuating circumstances presented by Mr. Salas. Since this court is not a legislative body, we do not have powers vested in the S.G.A.C that allow us to address the aforementioned issues.”
Following an appeal filed on Thursday, Feb.13, David Cabrera, a political science junior, has entered the race for student body president.
Cabrera filed to run for the leadership position before the mandatory filing date on Friday, Feb. 7, and was informed on Feb. 11 he had been disqualified from the election.
“On Tuesday night … around 10, I got an email that I got disqualified from the race because I did not have a 2.8 GPA last semester,” Cabrera said.
In the fall of 2019, Cabrera started the semester as a full-time student but said he was forced to withdraw from Texas A&M due to what the university considers too many unexcused absences. These unexcused absences were a reflection of immigration issues Cabrera was facing. Following difficulties with his visa, he was required to go back to his hometown in Ecuador during the semester.
“The U.S. Embassy told me I was still in processing and they did not even know what it was all about. … Even today I don’t know what took so long,” Cabrera said.
Although Cabrera was able to complete online assignments, the university did not allow him to take his in-person exams in any other format, leading to what he said was his inevitable failure in the classes. Cabrera withdrew from the university soon after.
“I was taking one online class, but I was also taking [in-person] lectures,” Cabrera said. “The problem is that the university does not excuse absences with visas.”
According to Student Rule 7, excused absences only apply to the following reasons:
“Personal injury or illness that is too severe or contagious for the student to attend class, death or major illness in a student’s immediate family, illness of a dependent family member, participation in legal or governmental proceedings that require a student’s presence and that cannot be rescheduled, graduate or professional school interviews which are mandatory, interviews for permanent, full-time employment or full-time internship, presentation of research or scholarship at a professional conference related to the student’s academic program, participation in an activity appearing on the university authorized activity list, mandatory participation as a student-athlete in NCAA-sanctioned competition, or an excuse sanctioned by the dean of the student’s college.”
Once Cabrera returned to the United States in December, the university administration made an exception and allowed him to return in the following semester. However, withdrawing from A&M left Cabrera with no GPA for the fall semester, disqualifying him from the initial eligibility check taken after candidate filing closed.
In opposition to his disqualification, Cabrera filed an appeal stating he had special circumstances and would like to challenge the decision of the election commissioner. According to Shefali Chopra, chief justice of the Student Government Association Judicial Court and accounting junior, the appeal was filed on Thursday and the acceptance of the appeal took place that same night. She said the earliest a hearing can take place after filing is 72 hours, but due to scheduling conflicts, it could not be scheduled until Wednesday, Feb 19.
In order to have his name on the ballot, Cabrera was required to attend the mandatory candidate meeting on Sunday. However, because the hearing was scheduled for the following week, Cabrera filed an injunction. This injunction was passed with a majority vote from the justices, and halted what was disqualifying him until the appeal hearing and allowed him to attend the meeting.
“As of right now, the court is taking a very neutral standpoint because we have not had an appeal hearing yet,” Chopra said. “We are not siding with one side or the other, we are taking the necessary actions we feel.”
The Judicial Court will hear both Cabrera’s and the election commissioner’s side and make a decision on Wednesday evening. This hearing will be held in private due to sensitive information in the case, and the chief justice is unsure when the verdict will be public knowledge.
“David Cabrera is on the ballot,” Election Commissioner Jacob Schaffer said. “He was not on the ballot [after the eligibility check], but due to a recent injunction, he is added to the list for the time being.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *