In the Fall of 2004 the (ASUCD) Elections Committee was the subject of some controversy regarding altering of Senate candidate's statements. In particular, the Committee altered the text of the SOSSS slate's statement. The candidate statements appear in The California Aggie and at the ASUCD election site (next to photographs of the candidates). The full, un-edited text submitted to the Elections Committee by SOSSS was the following:
The other slates have a history of bad decisions and corruption. They passed resolutions which had little support by students and nothing to do with the campus. Not only did this waste valuable senate debate time, these resolutions brought the IRS investigation known as Lamargate. Paying back taxes and penalties will result in "Fiscal Chaos" and "Armageddon Cuts." But we have an appeasement plan for the IRS that will bring peace in our times.
Students for an Orwellian Student Senate Slate will better the bureaucracy, and get special interests out of ASUCD. We will represent all students and their values, which is why we promise that we will not embezzle more than the other candidates, and we will not steal $356.76 of books from the UCD Bookstore, unlike a certain Student FOCUS representative last year.
We will push to rename the Social Science and Humanities Building to the "Death Star".
We are the only slate running half engineers.
We are the Slate Of SubStance not Sound-bites, so vote SOSSS early and often.
#1 Jonathon Leathers
#2 Chad Van Schoelandt
#3 Marie Huynh
#4 Chris Rood
The Elections Committee removed the line "...which is why we promise that we will not embezzle more than the other candidates, and we will not steal $356.76 of books from the UCD bookstore, unlike a certain Student Focus representative last year." The mention of stolen books is a reference to the ASUCD Senator Ackerman Scandal. It was the removal of this line that sparked controversy, leading to a guest opinion article in the Aggie by the Chief Justice of the ASUCD Court (Kris Fricke) as well as a rebuttal by the Elections Committee Chair (Christine Schachter). Kris Fricke informally replied to her rebuttal.
Elections Committee Justification
As stated in the ASUCD Government Codes: Chapter 1: Elections Regulations, section 112, 6, A,iii, a: " The procedures for printing copies SHALL BE DETERMINED by the ASUCD Elections Committee and shall be announced to all candidates for office." Furthermore, section b following the forementioned section reads, "The ASUCD Elections Committee MAY publish...." meaning we are not required to, but instead to choose to assist candidates in their election process; granted all material is approved by the committee.
Whether or not the Elections Committee is within its rights to alter candidate statements is unknown, but the referenced portion of the Government Codes (as of Fall 2004) state the following (bolded are the quoted regions):
Platform Flyers: All candidates and tickets shall receive, at no charge to the candidates or tickets, up to 1,000 copies of one platform flyer. The flyer may be double-sided but no larger than an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. The platform flyer must include, but is not limited to, the official ASUCD Election Web site as announced at the mandatory candidates’ meeting, the dates of the election, the candidate's name and the office for which the candidate is running. The procedures for printing copies shall be determined by the ASUCD Elections Committee and shall be announced to all candidates for office.
Statements: The ASUCD Elections Committee may publish a sample ballot containing all submitted candidate and ticket's statements and a submitted statement in favor and against all Ballot Measures and Recalls (if applicable).
It would appear as if the second quote was taken largely out of context, as the reference to 'may' effects the printing of sample ballots containing all candidate statements, not the ability of the committee to selectively alter statements. As for the first quote, it appears in a box of text describing the printing process, which might indicate that it doesn't grant authority to alter, but instead grants authority to change the procedure for the printing process.
The Elections Committee appears to have improperly identified the line as libel, and used that as justification for its removal. In actuality, the line cannot be libel, as it (A) is true (B) does not name a specific individual. As the line was eliminated for no tenable reason, the affected candidates charge the Committee with arbitrarily editing their statement.
SOSSS is currently exploring their legal options, and the lawyer they have consulted suggests that their case is quite good.
It appears that new Senators may not take their office on time, because this complaint was filed against the Elections Committee. Since the complaint, filed November 15, had not yet been decided by Campus Judicial Board by Thursday, December 2, the new senators were not able to take office at tonight's Senate meeting. This was explained very well by an Aggie article on December 2. However, a positive side effect of the delay is that it has given more time to investigate the Campaigning in Dorms Controversy, as Student Judicial Affairs had not made a decision on that matter before the last senate meeting of Fall.
The Campus Judicial Board found in favor of SOSSS in a hearing about this issue. Kris Fricke described the hearing in his LiveJournal and one audience member told SOSSS: "you tore the elections committee a new asshole."
Official Report of the Campus Judicial Board has officially been released, and copies can be had from the Student Government Administrative Office, third floor MU. The CJB found in favor of the Orwellians in both hearings, with votes of 7-0.
There have been no repercussions for anyone involved.
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Okay, I am really confused here. The new senators took office on Thursday — but I can't seem to find out what exactly is supposed to happen to the senators. As I understand it, they couldn't take office because there was an outstanding complaint against the Elections Committee..So, because the complaint was filed — dispite the fact it was not in their favor — they took office? —PhilipNeustrom
2005-01-10 22:35:26 Phil, the complaints weren't against the specific senators that ran, it was against the Election commitee and not swearing in the new people was a precaution because in the worst case scenario, the election results could have been thrown out completely. But since the was no technical claim on invalidity, the results still stand. —JenndelaVega