Campaign violation earns Stevenson demerits

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

University Students’ Council presidential candidate Tom Stevenson was given 15 demerit points last night by the USC elections committee.

The committee’s website reads: “An e-mail to a restricted USC-managed list, endorsing Mr. Stevenson’s candidacy, was sent by a non-arm’s length party to his campaign who holds a position on the USC.”

The committee determined the e-mail was a use of USC resources, a violation of election bylaws, and gave Stevenson the demerits.

The e-mail was sent by Bilal Naveed, a Stevenson campaign team member who is also USC clubs commissioner. It outlined how Stevenson’s ideas benefited Western clubs and was addressed to all USC club presidents.

Also, election bylaws state e-mails sent to a managed list, such as the USC clubs presidents list, must be approved by the list administrator.

Though willing to accept the decision, Stevenson said he disagreed with it.

“[It] was my understanding the e-mail was never sent; it was halted in transmission,” Stevenson said. “I don’t think any voters were actually influenced by the mistake.”

The e-mail was blocked by the USC’s IT technician and never reached club presidents.

He added he was unaware of the e-mail but that Naveed made an honest mistake.

“[Naveed] asked if I had any words to send to some friends of his about clubs,” Stevenson said. “Unbeknownst to me he used the [clubs presidents list].”

“[Stevenson] sent me a template,” Naveed said. “He asked me to get the e-mail approved by a list administrator before I sent it to anyone, and I didn’t know who that was.”

Naveed said he sent the e-mail anyway.

“It’s been such a clean campaign, I’d hate to see things change at this point,” said presidential candidate Chris Reynolds before the demerits had been officially announced. “If [a violation occurred], it’s disappointing.”

Candidates earning 30 or more demerit points are disqualified. Stevenson’s total is 18. He was given three points earlier in the campaign after a non-arms-length party uploaded a parody of Reynolds’ election poster on Facebook.

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