Cal Poly election fines dropped against pair running for student body president

nwilson@thetribunenews.comMarch 13, 2014 

Two students running for Cal Poly’s student body president no longer face fines for perceived elections violations.

On Thursday, the Recruitment and Development Committee, a student-run group within the Associated Students Inc. organization, voted in a special meeting to waive $100 fines assessed to students Joi Sullivan and Connor Paquin.

They were fined because their names appeared in a Mustang News article prior to a regulated 10-day campaign window leading up to the election. Mustang News is the university’s student news organization.

ASI’s legal counsel recommended the fee waiver because the election code “does not specifically address the issue of media contact outside of the 10-day active campaigning period, and thus may be open to differing opinions.”

Two other candidates, Jake Rogers and Will Blumhardt, also running for ASI president, were never fined in connection with any media attention, said Michelle Broom, spokeswoman for ASI, the nonprofit umbrella of services that include student government.

Broom said the Recruitment and Development Committee will reconvene in a meeting this morning to address how they will get through the election season without further confusion on code-related issues.

“It will be open for discussion how to finish the election season and then the code will be looked at after the election on April 23,” Broom said.

The fines were assessed based on an interpretation of the code that a written announcement in the media of a student’s candidacy before the 10-day period prior to the vote constituted premature campaigning. The idea behind the policy is to prevent a candidate from getting a leg up in the race.

In a Feb. 26 Mustang News article, Paquin commented on his leadership qualities and work on a new policy relating to the Greek community that aims to prevent reckless party behavior. Sullivan didn’t comment for the Mustang News story, citing campaign rules, but she confirmed her intent to run.

A longtime friend and coworker however commented on Sullivan’s behalf — citing her efficiency, effectiveness and energy. Paquin could not be reached and Sullivan declined comment late Thursday.

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