David Millet and Jared Roberts from team EXELerate, spoke out on March 1, to address certain accusations and concerns about their campaign thus far.
“In no way did we maliciously break any rules,” Millet said, who is running for student body president.
Millet and his team advertised an event on Facebook for Jan. 12, and screen shots of the event were evidence.
However, Millet refuted any allegations that they violated campaign rules.
“The spirit of our party was recruiting,” Roberts said, who is running alongside Millet for Executive Vice President. “We asked for help in preparing a campaign. We did not ask for votes.”
Campaign rule 20 states, “You must not ask individuals to vote for you or solicit votes in any way prior to March 3… In preparation for election week you may talk to individuals that you are acquainted with and solicit their help.”
According to Millet, the event, which he stated was invite only, was purely designed to get people excited and motivated to help them in their campaigning. Because of this, Millet and his team feel they did not violate any rules within the campaign rules.
It was created at the beginning of January before the packet came out, and was advised by Beka Grulich, director of Student Activities, to take down the UVUSA logo from their event page prior to the packets coming out.
Once the campaign rules came out on Jan. 24, a new rule was out into play, rule 11, which prohibits the use of the UVUSA logo on any campaign material, print or otherwise.
As for the other rules, both incumbent teams are already familiar with them through their previous and current work with UVUSA. However, for others needing interpretation of the rules, they must seek it out.
“It’s the student body government that picks the rule makers for the next election. That’s the biggest issue,” said Ikaika Cox, a representative of the Revolutionary Student Union. “The student body president is the one that picked this elections committee, that’s the biggest flagrant conflict of interest.”
In an effort to address concerns about the alleged infraction, Millet met with the RSU, a group of students on campus who feel there are many flaws within out student political system and are ready for change.
Started three years ago, the RSU feels that the system in place serves as an injustice to a majority of students. They are an anti-capitalist group who engage within the community and explore the outcomes of anti-capitalist theory within society.
After learning about the alleged infraction reported on Feb.13, the RSU created a delegation to meet with Millet.
“We were respectful to him and he was respectful to us,” said Jacob Hyden from the RSU. “We just disagreed.”
Though the language in the elections packet is not completely clear, each individual candidate can spend up to $200 of personal or donated money, making it a total of $800 per team for the primary campaign.
“And that’s the thing, there’s way too much left to interpretation in these rules,” said Jessica Burnham of the RSU.
The event on the Facebook page would have cost an estimated $450, but team EXELerate paid a significantly less amount due to connections and deals they were able to take advantage of.
However, rule 6 states that everything has to be added up according to fair market value, and that amount is what is subtracted from their campaign fund. But Millet and his team did not have to account for the cost of the event because it was not considered a campaigning event.
Another rule that has been called into question is rule 9, which states, “You are responsible for all information posted online. Be cautious of pre-campaigning. Avoid anything that may appear as campaigning and ensure that no sites are live prior to Feb. 27.”
Millet feels that they did not violate this rule because the Facebook event was not a live website.
“I know that we were not campaigning,” Roberts said.
When asked about the way the election’s committee and the whole election process works, Millet and Roberts said there is always room for improvement.
“The elections committee should continue to seek out ways to give everyone a fair playing field,” Roberts said.
That being said, Millet does not feel that it is a “broken system,” despite what people may think.
There has been much controversy over the event and the outcome of it, and Millet feels it is undeserved.
“I’m doing the best I can. People might feel we broke rules, and that’s their opinion,” Millet said. “We’re not politicians. We try to be as honest as possible in campaigning and in life.”
When it comes to this whole ordeal, the RSU is concerned with two major things.
“One is the infractions committed already,” said Joshua West, the president of the RSU, “and second is the actual inequalities built right into the system that allow that kind of thing to take place and give undue advantage to people who are currently with the incumbent team who’s running.”
In regards to the event, the RSU feels that Millet’s team was in violation of the rules, despite what his claim that it was for strictly for recruiting.
“[Recruiting and campaigning] to me, kind of goes hand in hand in a lot of ways,” Burnham said.
The RSU has not decided how they will move forward with the information they learned from Millet, but they definitely plan on informing students and raising awareness.
“We’re also going to do everything we can to initiate change within these election processes,” Burnham said. “Be that through petitioning, demonstrating, we’re not sure yet but we’re going to do everything we can to bring justice to this process.”
They hopeful that organizations on and off campus will start and be involved in “get out to vote” campaigns, so students can make informed educated decisions when it comes to all three teams.
As of last week, all three teams have committed at least one infraction and have all been penalized for their infractions.
By Vanessa Fraga Perkins