An Elections Board meeting Wednesday dealt with the first major student elections infraction. Student Fee Committee Chair candidate Johnnie Ozimkowski filed a complaint with the board alleging that fellow SFC Chair candidate Jil Heimensen sent a mass e-mail to student group mailboxes.
An Elections Board meeting Wednesday dealt with the first major student elections infraction.
Student Fee Committee Chair candidate Johnnie Ozimkowski filed a complaint with the board alleging that fellow SFC Chair candidate Jil Heimensen sent a mass e-mail to student group mailboxes.
That action violates Elections Board bylaw Article IV, Section 6.2 that states “No candidate may place campaign materials in the following locations, including but not limited to: SALP and student group mailboxes.”
Ozimkowski filed the infraction because the e-mail Heimensen sent out violated policy and created an unlevel playing field.
“I’m more upset of the content of the e-mail as it was ingenuous to the Student Fee Committee and the student groups,” Ozimkowski said.
Heimensen said she violated the bylaw unintentionally. She misinterpreted the policy and assumed that e-mailing student groups was not the same as putting a letter in their physical mailbox.
“I didn’t think that there was anything wrong with e-mailing student groups,” Heimensen said.
“I thought that this type of e-mail would have been OK and other candidates would do the same,” she added later.
In response, Kyle Curtis, E-Board chair, clarified the rule.
“The only difference between physically putting messages in student group mailboxes and e-mailing them is it’s electronic,” he said.
Brian Gumport, board vice chair, discussed potential penalties for Heimensen’s violation.
“We must take punitive action with the most extreme being disqualification [from candidacy],” Gumport said.
The Elections Board decided that Heimensen had committed a major infraction, giving the board the option to decide what type of punishment should be implemented.
The group decided against disqualification.
“I don’t believe Jil should be disqualified,” Curtis said.
The Elections Board debated among itself and allowed anyone to freely speak on the issue at the meeting. Rebekah Chitsaz, a vice presidential candidate for ASPSU, commented on the issue.
“I think that there should be more clarification in the bylaws about electronic communication with student groups by candidates,” Chitsaz said.
The decision came and the punishment was to allow Ozimkowski to use the ad space originally allocated to Heimensen, in addition to his own ad space.
“The way I saw it is that Heimensen and the Election Board had interpreted the bylaw differently,” said student senator Daniel Lyons.
Heimensen later commented on the Elections Board’s ruling.
“It’s basically like if Coke had to take the labels off its bottles and put them in a closet to try and sell them,” she said. “All things considered, the verdict wasn’t that bad. I’m done campaigning. I’ll let the chips fall where they may.”