Update: Three candidates for University-wide representative positions were found guilty of campaigning in association with each other, and have been banned from campaigning for two days, according to Ryan Lutz, chairman of the election supervisory board.
The three candidates, Chandler Foster, rhetoric and writing sophomore, Piper Vaughn, nursing sophomore, and Adrienne Gamez, corporate communications junior, were reprimanded by the supervisory board after an anonymous tipster filed a complaint the three students had been campaigning together. In addition to a two-day ban on campaigning, each student will also be fined ten percent of the total available expenditures for the University-wide representative candidates. Typically, each candidate can spend up to $612 campaigning.
In a statement issued by the board, each candidate was found guilty of campaigning in a way that did not distinguish the students from each other.
"The candidates made no attempt to distinguish themselves as individual candidates besides stating their individual names," the statement read. "There was no distiction between platform points offered during the event. The candidates admitted to visiting up to nine distinct organizations on [Feb. 17], all as a group."
Original story: An anonymous student filed the first complaint of the Student Government election season against three University-wide representative candidates, but did not show up to the resultant Election Supervisory Board hearing because he said he was “put up to” filing the charge.
In his allegation, filed Monday, the anonymous student alleged that University-wide representative candidates Chandler Foster, rhetoric and writing sophomore, nursing sophomore Piper Vaughn and corporate communications junior Adrienne Gamez appeared together at the Sigma Chi fraternity house to give a speech encouraging fraternity members to vote for all three candidates as a group.
“This gives them an unfair advantage over other candidates whom campaign on their own,” the anonymous student said in an email.
Student Government election code prohibits “joint, collaborative campaigning, planning or activities” and says “all non-executive alliance candidates in the election must campaign separately, without written or verbal endorsements, collaboration, financial or other tangible support from any fellow candidate in any campus-wide election.”
The student who originally filed the complaint did not show up to the meeting. In an email to the Election Supervisory Board and the three accused candidates, the student said he was not aware of the repercussions his complaint would have.
“I will not be there tonight at 10:30 [p.m.],” Vaughn said, reading aloud from the email. “I was put up to this. I had no idea what it would mean for these girls or for me.”
Ryan Lutz, chairman of the Election Supervisory Board and aerospace engineering senior, said the original complainant did not want to pursue his allegations but said the board will investigate the charges anyway.
“Since the complaint has been submitted we have a duty to follow up with it,” Lutz said.
According to Lutz, the board will change the way future complaints are handled to prevent accused candidates from harassing those who report them.
“We’re going to change some of the ways we contact people when a complaint comes in,” Lutz said. “[Candidates] know the name of the person who does the complaint but they’re not going to know any email addresses or phone numbers because we don’t want any harassing or anything going on.”
John Brown, government sophomore and a candidate for University-wide representative, was asked to speak on behalf of the complainant.
Vaughn said the group did not go to the house with the intent of campaigning together and emphasized they had separate platform points and social media pages.
Foster said it would not benefit the group to campaign together.
“We all know we’re running against each other,” Foster said. “It doesn’t add to our benefit to run as a group.”
The board will make its decision within 24 hours.