On Tuesday, April 2, Student Senate Rules and Elections Committee Chair William Toth ’13 released an announcement via e-mail stating that there have been two violations to Grand Marshal Week campaigning rules. These are the the first violations this year with currently uncontested races for Grand Marshal and President of the Union.
According to the documents on Flagship Docs, “the members of The No Pants Party have been found in violation of Section 5.5 of the GM Week 2013 Elections Handbook which states: ‘Candidates may not use the name or title of other students in active campaigning prior to the completion of a Candidate Assistance Form by that student.’” As a result, The No Pants Party was required to take down their Facebook campaign page until 8 am on Wednesday, April 3. Their party affiliation forms were also due at that time. The violation was approved by Toth, Allison Feldman ’14, Jon Goldszmidt ’13, Greg Niguidula ’15, President of the Union Jonathan Stack ’13, and Donna Li ’16.
The second violation was by Wendy Wang ’15 and Haley Bryk ’15, who are running for President and Vice President of the Class of 2015, respectively, and members of the Wang and Bryk Party. They violated Sections 5.3 and 5.5 of the GM Week Handbook. Section 5.3 states that “… Candidates may not campaign or solicit signatures prior to the acceptance of a GM Week 2013 Candidacy Form for that candidate by the Rules and Elections Committee.” The Rules and Elections Committee decided that the two would have to take down their party’s Facebook page until Thursday, April 4, at 8 am, when their forms are also due. Wang and Bryk are also required to each acquire 25 extra nominations to appear on the ballot on Wednesday, April 10. This violation was approved by the same committee members.
The e-mail sent out to candidates also reminded them about Sections 4.3 and 6.12 of the Handbook. Section 4.3 states that “No candidate or party may be supported by Union funds or supplies. Club property is considered property of the Union.” According to Toth, this includes campaigning during an event that is put on by a Union-funded group. Section 6.12 states: “Respect other candidates and their campaigns. Do not tamper with or poster over other campaigns. Do not place tape over tape securing the signs of other candidates.”
Toth stated that there have been multiple reports of campaign posters being removed by individuals who were unrelated to the party that posted them. “In addition to a campaign violation, the tampering and/or removal of posters and signs from campus is considered vandalism and will be reported to the Dean of Students,” he said. He also reminded candidates that they have agreed to Section 11 of the Honor Code for elections, which states that candidates are obligated to uphold the principles of “decency, honesty and fair play.”
As of Tuesday night, only eight candidates have turned in all required nominations, although several more have turned in the majority of their nominations. According to Toth, this is actually a normal occurrence. “Every year we beg and plead with candidates during the info sessions to hand in their nominations early both so it is easier for us to process over time, and so it is easier for them to actively track their nomination count and ensure their position on the ballot,” he explained. “I also constantly remind candidates via their email list, but unfortunately most of them end up submitting them at or close to the deadline, and we end up with a huge pile of them to process on Saturday.”
Toth also said that the only “atypical” races are those for GM and PU, which are both uncontested; usually, at least one of the positions is contested. While he and the other members of the Rules and Elections Committee are unsure why this is the case, he mentioned that “GM Week itself is a week earlier this year than last year, which means less time to collect nominations. There was also the addition of the 3.0/2.5 requirement for GM&PU/Senators. There is no indication that this had any effect, and I have not received any appeals on the GPA requirement, but it is impossible to tell, as someone below this threshold would probably not even try since it is a set requirement.”
In an attempt to increase graduate candidacy, the committee has also reduced the requirements for graduate students to appear on the ballot. Graduate senators only need 10 nominations, while Graduate Council representatives do not require any nominations at all.
All candidates are expected to have all forms and nominations in by 3 pm on Saturday, April 6. For more information, contact Toth or the rest of the Rules and Elections Committee at email@example.com or visit the committee’s website at http://elections.union.rpi.edu/.