Accusals delay SG results

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It might be after spring break before students know who the new Student Government president and vice president will be. An election code violation hearing Thursday resulted in appeals on both sides and no decision in sight. Abel Mulugheta and Sameer Desai’s campaign accused the Natalie Butler and Ashley Baker campaign of violating a moratorium against campaigning that the Election Supervisory Board issued from 12:45 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday. Butler and Baker received the penalty for failing to remain within three feet of their signs. Mulugheta and Desai argued that Butler’s campaign failed to remove signs in West Campus and campaign materials online. Mulugheta’s and Desai’s campaign was also under a moratorium from 12:45 to 4 p.m. for failing to remain within three feet of their signs and also for collecting votes in Jester Dormitory. The election code prohibits campaigns from collecting votes on campus. Both teams previously received fines for failing to stay close to their signs. Finance junior Aakash Kumar argued on behalf of Mulugheta and Desai, saying each campaign team was issued a moratorium and the Butler-Baker signs that weren’t taken down in West Campus gave them an unfair advantage. “This is a blatant violation of the code, and it happened before,” Kumar said about Butler and Baker’s failure to remove all signage during the moratorium. “You hit them with a fine, and they didn’t stop; you hit them with a moratorium, and they still didn’t stop it.” Kumar argued in favor of a class D violation, which entails disqualification of the Butler-Baker team, based on the code’s section stating that failure to adhere to an ESB ruling is grounds for disqualification. Mulugheta and Desai presented photos and videos of Butler-Baker campaign materials up past 2 p.m. Mulugheta said this put them at an advantage because his campaign had removed all materials and were “invisible” for almost four hours. “Hopefully, ESB will set a precedent today to let them know that breaks in code [are unacceptable], and students will see a culture change in SG and that nobody is above the law and nobody is above the code,” he said. University Democrats representative Jeremy Yager argued for Butler and Baker, saying there was a miscommunication between their team members and there was never a willful intent to gain an advantage. “We made every possible effort to adhere to the moratorium,” Yager said. “We communicated the moratorium to our campaign members, and we honestly thought the signs had been taken down.” Yager said they text messaged the four team members in charge of signage to make sure the West Campus signs were taken down, but three were in class, leaving only government sophomore Josh Gold to remove the signs. Gold testified he took down signs in front of University Towers and the Kappa Delta house on his way to class at 2 p.m. Butler said she hopes the votes will be the deciding factor that ends the runoff elections and not a hearing. “I just want the election results to be resolved,” Butler said. “I understand there was an issue with the signage, but I think that we made every effort to make sure that it was taken care of, so we’re just waiting to hear the results at this point.”