Bennett and Massoni-Nesman sanctioned by Election Commission over campaign violations
On Tuesday, March 15, the Elections Commission voted unanimously 5—0 in favor of a decision to sanction Cait Bennett ’22 and Ria Massoni-Nesman ’24 for campaign violations. Bennett is running to be reelected as Grand Marshal on a ticket with Massoni-Nesman, who is currently running uncontested for Undergraduate President. The sanction requires the pair to collect 25 additional signatures for their campaign.
The pair were found by the EC to have violated Article 1, Section 4, Subsection 12 of the Elections Handbook, which limits rooms reserved by candidates to registered candidates alone. On Monday, the pair tabled together to campaign and collect nominations to secure their spot on the ballot. Massoni-Nesman reserved a table in the 15th Street lobby of the Union through the Event Management System. The table was checked out under the Class of 2024 Council. Bennett and Massoni-Nesman’s interpreted ‘rooms’ to not include open spaces, such as the Union lobby. However, the EC considers any facility reserved using EMS as a room covered by the clause.
The matter was first brought to the attention of EC Chair Nicholas Longchamp ’24 by President of the Union Yaseen Mahmoud ’22 and Executive Board Vice President for Rules and Special Projects Matthew Zapken GR shortly after the tabling began. Mahmoud then informed Bennett that she was potentially committing a violation. Bennett then brought the matter to Longchamp. The EC discussed and voted on the matter the next day over Slack. The sanction requires Bennett and Massoni-Nesman to collect an additional 25 nominations each to get on the ballot. Longchamp said they settled on the number 25 because “25 was enough to offset those nominations…as well as ensuring they do incur some penalty for breaking the rules.”
In statements to The Polytechnic, both Bennett and Massoni-Nesman took responsibility for the oversight and supported the EC’s decision. “I appreciate the thought that the Elections Commission put into this case, and I look forward to completing the nomination requirement, and therefore reaching out to more students,” said Bennett. Nicole Gramenides ’23, who is running against Bennett for GM, stated that “It’s unfortunate that two candidates were in violation of the rules that the Elections Commission has put forth. However, I am happy to see that true enforcement of the rules is being upheld to allow the spirit of the election to persevere.”
The GM Week debate is on Tuesday, March 22, and elections are to be held on the following day, Wednesday, March 23.
Correction: The article now includes a clarification that the table was checked out under the Class of 2024 Council.