February 5, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 70  

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Candidate says bylaw infraction unintentional; quiz pulled

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

University Students’ Council presidential candidate Kathy Robineau may have unintentionally broken one of the USC’s election bylaws.

Robineau’s website featured a quiz — which asked for the visitor’s student number in order to be completed — offering a draw for a DVD player. The election bylaws prohibit candidates from soliciting information such as student numbers during their campaigns.

“The intention of asking for the student number was to have the student number and the e-mail to ensure the visitors were students,” Robineau said. “There was absolutely, positively no intent to solicit students.”

She added the website, along with the student number requirement for the quiz, had been approved by the USC’s chief returning officer, James Guttman, leading her to assume there was no problem with requesting that information.

“That was the strange thing; [Guttman] approved the website in advance,” she said.

According to Robineau, Guttman contacted her Tuesday evening to inform her the quiz had broken election bylaws. She said that the quiz was taken off the website shortly thereafter.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any sort of problem,” Robineau said. “They’re looking for intent,” she added, indicating that when she goes before the election committee today, they should take into account the fact she did not intend to solicit student information.

Robineau maintains that all the information received from the quizzes has not been revealed and will remain confidential.

Guttman said the election committee will make an assessment of what has occurred. “We’re looking into the entire situation,” he said, adding he could not comment further on the issue.

The election bylaw infraction has elicited reactions from Robineau’s election rivals.

“I’m sure it was an honest mistake,” said USC presidential candidate Patrick Harris, adding he could not see a reason to believe Robineau intentionally broke the bylaw. He said he hopes the election committee is fair in whatever decision it makes.

“And I haven’t gone before them, and I’m pleased about that,” he remarked.

“I feel that if the DVD player was [bought] out of campaign funds that is a waste of student money,” noted Steve Learmonth, another candidate for president.

“I have faith the election committee will make a fair decision. If it’s a strong [decision] that’s all right, if a weak one does it, that will suffice,” he added.

“The expectation is that when you go into a election you understand the election bylaws,” noted candidate Dave Molenhuis. “Obviously ‘I didn’t know’ is not an excuse.”

“She has good intentions. It’s unfortunate it’s against the bylaws, but those are the bylaws,” he added.

“I’m hoping it was an honest mistake and I’d hate to see her get punished for it,” said presidential candidate Nick Staubitz.



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