Evidence surfaced last week suggesting that members of this year’s UVUSA Student Council, some of whom will be running in elections for next year’s Student Body Presidency, sponsored a campaign event via Facebook that did not have the necessary approval of the Elections Committee. According to election rules, both the Facebook event page as well as confirmed event activities were violations.
The validity of this infraction has since been refuted by numerous respondents in the form of comment posts on the online version of last week’s article.
Amidst the slew of comments spurred by this and other articles about the incumbent UVUSA team, one comment under the name “David Millet” indicated that Millet “would love to sit down with any one of you and tell you exactly how me and my team did not break any rules and how the elections committee also agrees with this.”
Upon sitting down with Vice President of Academics David Millet, he declined comment on the situation. When asked over the phone about the situation, Millet’s assistant Daniel Diaz, who was listed as one of the co-authors on the Facebook page in question, also declined comment.
Both Diaz and Millet mentioned that they were concerned that their words would be used inappropriately, twisted or otherwise misconstrued by the UVU Review. Also, Millet declined when presented with the opportunity to publish an unaltered written statement in this issue.
Upon further investigation, Director of Student Activities and Advisor to the Elections Committee Rebeka Grulich was asked about the event and its implications. According to Grulich, the committee was already aware of the event.
“The Election Committee has already dealt with that issue and I can’t really comment on it,” Grulich said.
Grulich insisted that releasing “current grievances” before the election would not be fair to any of the teams. Doing that, she said, would set up candidates for an “unfair attack” from their competitors.
Grulich reported that there has yet to be a campaign free of infractions from candidates.
“That’s the nature of what politics is,” Grulich said. “You have your interpretation of the rules and move forward and it’s up to the governing election body to agree or disagree with the candidate’s interpretation of the rules.”
But as part of the Elections Committee, Grulich argues, it is not her job to call attention to rule violations. The responsibility to get correct information about alleged infractions to student voters, she said, rests on the individual parties. To her, “it’s common sense” and promotes a “level playing field” for the candidates.
Assistant VP of Student Life and Dean of Students Bob Rasmussen admitted not knowing what it meant that the Elections Committee “dealt with” the issue, but he did say that events like the one in question are not always intended for direct campaigning.
“To have campaign parties where you invite people to be part of your campaign has been done for the 15 years I’ve been involved,” Rasmussen said.
The intentions of this event are unclear amidst the apparent infractions incurred by the existence of the Facebook event page. Unless Millet and his team divulge the event details, the lack of clarity will remain until after next year’s governing body has already been elected.
Rasmussen explained how the Elections Committee typically deals with complaints and infractions. The committee waits until the week before the campaign time starts before gathering “all the complaints from all the other parties,” and takes them into consideration before making decisions about possible punishments.
Punishments, if assigned, will most likely be a restriction that either takes violating teams “off the hallways” for a few hours or gives them poor location placement during campaign week.
By Jeff Jacobsen
Online Content Manager