All four slates competing for control of the Undergraduate Student Government (SG) have faced grievance reports and hearings with the Election Facilitation Committee (EFC), their campaign violations ranging from trivial to severe.
Just one day remains until the results of the election will be announced, concluding one of the most controversial election seasons in recent memory.
The first grievance filed this election year was against Cordray/Kalhan, the EFC rejecting accounts that the colleagues misused Snapchat accounts for campaign advancement.
Overall, the Baddam/Saxena campaign faced the harshest verdicts, due to their financial impropriety.
On Feb. 28, EFC ruled that Baddam/Saxena weren’t allowed to campaign from noon to 2:30 p.m. the next day, citing how they had “not filled out any expenditures,” and weren’t “recording their expenditures,” as other campaigners had.
One day prior, as voting began university-wide, the Morgan/Pham slate were confronted with a grievance report. It stemmed from the claim that a “representative of Fifth Third bank endorsed Morgan/Pham,” during an event at the 1819 Innovation Hub.
The banker in question also works with the Next Innovation Scholars (NIS), and was described as Vu Pham’s “mentor,” adding to additional complaints about receiving an “endorsement from a university office.”
Except outside of NIS, the banker had no affiliation with the university, and was determined to be supporting Vu “not as a member of NIS.” Unanimously, the EFC voted to dismiss the charges.
While those charges were dropped, others stuck to the duo. The committee determined on Feb. 20 that Morgan/Pham had flouted a campaign rule, stating “No UC affiliated organization, team, office, department, faculty or staff member may endorse a slate or candidate,” and were required to not use social media from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 21.
Summarizing the Morgan/Pham case, EFC’s grievance hearing report describes their Instagram account as having “ an endorsement by a past UC president and athlete in the form of a comment and story reposts from April Gable.” The EFC voted unanimously that Gable’s action was “a violation of the endorsement clause.”
Jack Troy and Elizabeth Piper were tried on the same day, and charged with the same violation, after “Professor Melissa Newman endorsed Jack and Liz via Instagram story.” They were ultimately rewarded with the same verdict.
Throughout, the candidates and their staffers expressed shock and revealed a lack of control over their campaigns. “This is our first time seeing that post,” said one Troy/Piper staffer when presented with the Instagram Story’s evidence.
The same teammate referred to two similar incidents the campaign dealt with, asking Lindner Business Honors and Cincy Cottage Goods to take town materials expressing support for Troy and Piper’s candidacy. Professor Newman’s actions, according to the staffer, simply went unnoticed. “We take full responsibility for not catching this,” he emphasized.
The first grievance filed this election year was against Cordray/Kalhan, the EFC rejecting accounts the colleagues misused Snapchat accounts for campaign advancement.
Outside the hearing room, speculation was swirling. Some campaigners- who preferred to remain unnamed- knew other slates submitted grievances against them, despite engaging in the same behavior their team was accused of.
Diagnosing the problem, the staffers thought it was an example of their opponent’s insecurity. A last-ditch attempt to discredit the opposing side before voting ended.
Nonetheless, the EFC members remained sanguine. “There are always misunderstandings between people,” said Katherine Bowe, fourth-year Political Science major, and EFC representative. Continuing, EFC member Amisha Saini said she and her colleagues recorded “as many grievances as it takes,” to ensure people felt “represented,” and “comfortable.”