Despite alleged campaign violations by both parties of the recent SGI Executive Board elections, the elections committee will take no actions against either campaign.
“There were violations,” president-elect of SGI Fabrice Armand said. “But nothing is being done about it.” Officially, there was only one alleged campaign violation reported, which was registered against vice president-elect Louis Saavedra, meaning that no action will be taken as SGI Elections committee rules state that no severe penalties are imposed until a third violation is committed.
According to the Executive Board and Senatorial Elections packet, “A candidate or campaigner not adhering to the Publicity regulations that will be discussed during the mandatory meetings, are subject to…warnings. A campaigner or candidate may also be banned from campaigning in a particular location for a specific amount of time. All decisions made the Elections Committee are final. Three violations will result in a candidate/ticket removal from the ballot.”
Short of that, according to Elections Committee Chair Magnum Chu, unless the opposing party recognizes any violations and wishes to appeal, then no actions will be taken, aside from the warnings issued to the parties.
The only officially reported violation was of Saavedra posting campaign flyers on walls and bulletin boards of fraternities who had not officially filed endorsements of the campaign. However, other alleged violations by both campaigns went unreported.
“I was very disappointed on the actions of some people,” Saavedra said. “But its politics.” Alleged violations by the eXcel ticket included, according to Armand, campaigning too close to the polls on election day. “A member of the Elections Committee informed me that one of our candidates wasn’t campaigning exactly 100 feet from the poll,” Armand said.
Sophomore Ann Starosta alleges that Armand also violated the rule against campaigning in the Residence Hall buildings. Just before the elections Armand allegedly campaigned door to door in Century Hall while he was posting a letter from Residence Life on the hallway doors, though Armand refuted that. “Technically, I didn’t,” Armand said. He later clarified saying, “I did not.”
Elections Committee guidelines state that Armand’s alleged violation would qualify as a violation for each candidate on the eXcel because he was campaigning on behalf of the entire party.
According to Chu, the reasons for setting for guidelines for campaigning and outlining how to determine violations is to maintain as a clean a campaign as possible so as to avoid bitter disputes. Beyond that, they are also set to help candidates understand building management guidelines and limit the number of flyers and posters cluttering the campus. “There’s no need for pollution of flyers everywhere,” Chu said.
While the guidelines outline the penalty of campaign violations reported before the conclusion of voting, the consequences of violations reported afterwards are not quite as clear. Should campaign violations committed by a candidate be reported after the election is concluded there is no set contingency plan. Rather, the most likely path would be to take the case to the director of the office of Campus Activities Mary Pelkowski, who would help mediate the situation. “We never ran through the what-ifs,” Chu said.
However, some felt more needed to be done by the Elections Committee to enforce the current guidelines more strongly. Armand, who has expressed a desire to make significant changes to the election process, was displeased with the Elections Committee.
“I think they could have done a better job,” Armand said. “Next year, I would like the Elections Committee to be more firm on the guidelines.”