Mar 302010
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

After several hours of deliberation, the student government Elections Committee fined one campaign $75 for allegedly posting libelous comments about a competing party on their Facebook page and violating pamphlet distribution guidelines.

At the time of publication, the committee was reviewing two other complaints against the same campaign. Check the Collegian Web site for additional information regarding the committee’s rulings on the additional complaints.

The committee voted unanimously to fine presidential and vice presidential candidates David Ambrose and April Ragland $25 after a competing campaign –– Cooper Anderson and his running mate Jennifer Babos –– filed the complaint.

The post read:

“We just want to let everyone know that Cooper and Jenny have been telling people we are raising fees but we are NOT! We are keeping your fees the same while providing more services. Not spending 100,000 to 200,000 to light the “A.”

The committee, which reviews and votes on allegations of campaign violations and has control over the severity of any punishment regarding complaints, debated whether the statement was indeed libel or just poor politics.

“It’s only libel if it’s proven that what (Ambrose) said was an explicit lie, and that hasn’t been proven,” said Paul Wade, who represented the ticket in the hearing.
The intention of the post, Wade said, was not to defame Anderson and Babos but was instead an act of defense that “wasn’t unsolicited.”

Wade said Ambrose and Ragland are in the process of filing a rebuttal complaint, which includes witness testimonies documenting that the Anderson and Babos campaign has deliberately misled students.

The team was fined an additional $50 for violating an election code that prohibits mailing to residence halls without an official permit from the Office of Housing and Residence Life.

Ambrose and Ragland had distributed hand tickets outlining their platform issues to all dorms on campus.

Both candidates worked with Barry Alexander, an IT professional for the Registrar’s Office, to obtain the list of mailing addresses through Ambrose’s fraternity Beta Theta Phi. BTP announced its official endorsement of the campaign during the Elections Committee meeting.

Alexander did not tell the campaign that a permit to mail to the residence halls was required, Ambrose said, adding that when delivering they were never asked to produce a permit.

Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Tuesday
David Ambrose and April Ragland
$25 for allegedly posting libelous comments about a competing campaign on their Facebook page
$50 for allegedly violating residence hall guidelines regarding pamphlet distribution
*At the time of publication, the Elections Committee was reviewing two other complaints against the campaign. Check out Collegian.com for additional information regarding these complaints.

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