Wednesday, June 28

Sanctions continue, 12 issued over two days of social media campaigning


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The undergraduate student government election board issued 11 sanctions Monday night and one Tuesday night.

The election board investigated a total of 17 complaints related to social media violations, and decided to issue sanctions for 12 of those complaints. Social media campaigning began Monday at noon.

On Monday, the board sanctioned transfer student representative candidate Sayron Stokes twice, external vice president candidates Chloe Pan and Jack Price three and six times respectively. All candidates are running independently.

The Bruins United slate received a sanction the day after.

The election board oversees the Undergraduate Students Association Council election process, and issues sanctions to anyone who violates the election code’s regulations, which include rules about campaigning.

Stokes received her second sanction on Monday because she did not comply with her first sanction. On Friday, the board said she had to delete a Facebook campaign page that she prematurely created by 9 a.m. Saturday. The election board said she had not deleted it by 10:30 p.m., then sanctioned her a third time for a different Facebook page which had also been created prematurely.

Stokes’ two newest sanctions prohibited her from campaigning for an additional three hours Tuesday.

The board sanctioned Pan twice because of posts made by two students supporting her, and once because of her own campaign Facebook page. It sanctioned Price six times for posts made by other students supporting him. Price was also involved in four other complaint cases that did not result in sanctions.

The election code mandates that any campaign-related post or status must include the hashtag #USACVoiceYourVote and tag the board’s page. Campaign-related Facebook events and websites also must have a disclaimer about the election code.

The board said none of the posts or pages included the disclaimers and said they had to be added by 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Pan declined to comment. Stokes could not be reached for comment before publication.

Price said in an email response that he was happy to comply with the code and appreciated the notices.

“We’ve got a lot of supporters, and it’s sometimes a challenge to coordinate them all – especially without the resources of a seasoned slate,” he said.

The board filed two more complaint cases at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday night.

It sanctioned the Bruins United slate because one of their members posted a photo that the board deemed campaigning on Facebook without an election board stamp. It also investigated a complaint about Pan posting a campaign photo on Instagram without the stamp. Pan added it by the time the board investigated and the board decided not to sanction her.

Investigations director Grant Tobenkin said the board gave explanations of the social media rules at its candidate and slate orientation, but since social media campaigning just began people might still be confused.

“Last year we didn’t receive an influx of sanctions to this extent, to my knowledge,” Tobenkin said. “But every election season is different and we’ll respond to that.”

Election board chair Danielle Fitzgerald said she thinks the large number of sanctions could partially be attributed to the fact that the board started giving students the option to submit complaint forms anonymously this year.


Click here for full coverage of the 2017 USAC elections.

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