Two Student Association candidates received two campaign violations respectively Thursday night, putting them four violations away from removal from the ballot even before the campaign period officially began.
The Joint Elections Committee – the body that oversees SA elections – handed down SA presidential candidate Kwasi Agyeman two penalties for sending unsolicited e-mails to student organization leaders, and for including his reasons for running for SA president in the e-mail. Both are violations of the SA’s election charter, and the committee voted unanimously to dole out the violations.
The JEC also found Daniel Ceisler – a candidate for a CCAS senate seat – guilty of unsolicited electronic communication via Facebook.
Ceisler’s friend invited Facebook friends to an event to vote for Ceisler on March 9 and 10. According to the charter, only the candidate may invite friends to an event on Facebook. The JEC gave Ceisler two penalties.
By JEC rules, if a candidate accrues six penalties he or she will be removed from the ballot.
“It’s a fun exercise for aspiring bureaucrats,” Ceisler said. “I think they did their best to give me a fair process, but if people get thrown off the ballot for things like this than it’s truly unfair.”
Agyeman did not return requests for comment.
The JEC tried six Student Association candidates for election violations altogether, acquitting four of the candidates in the group.
SA presidential hopefuls Jason Kaplan and John Richardson, and executive vice presidential candidates Amanda Galonek and Ted Costigan were all tried and acquitted for distributing campaign materials before the official campaign period began.
JEC Chief Investigator Willard Applefeld alleged that the four candidates were given an unfair advantage because they were each featured in a Feb. 17 Hatchet article detailing their candidacies and respective platforms before the campaign period began
JEC Chair Galen Petruso said the committee determined The Hatchet was not “explicitly or tacitly authorized to act on behalf of the candidates,” making the violations unwarranted.
“The committee believed by a preponderance of the evidence that the reporter was acting on behalf of the Hatchet and not for any specific candidate,” Petruso said.
Galonek – the chair of the SA Rules Committee who was vocal earlier this semester about curbing the JEC’s power – said she was satisfied with the JEC’s overall decision.
“I’m pleased to see that we were able to work with the JEC to resolve this matter in a timely fashion,” Galonek said. “I think this decision sets a good precedent for the way in which future JEC hearings will be handled this campaign season.”
The election will be held Wednesday and Thursday.