This morning, Student Body President candidates Will Lindsey and Hetali Lodaya were notified by the Board of Elections that fellow candidates Rob Jones and Christy Lambden had filed a complaint against them, claiming that Hetali and Will had violated Title VI in our student code. The complaint says that Will Lindsey collected signatures before the starting time, campaigned in illegal locations, and used illegal online signature gathering. For Hetali Lodaya, the complaint states that her campaign collected signatures before the starting time and campaigned in illegal locations.
Will and Hetali both stressed that did not believe that their respective campaigns had violated Title VI, and also stated that if a violation had occurred, it was accidental and that there were no malicious intentions. Christy also underlined the lack of malicious intentions in his filing of the complaint, saying that he submitted the complaint because he wanted to maintain integrity within student government and hold all campaigns responsible. Rob Jones declined to comment, because he wishes for the complaint to go through the proper channels.
Will and Hetali also stated that they plan on following the code when responding to the complaint. Will Lindsey emphasized his commitment to following the rules, citing his position as the head of the Greek Judicial Board this year.
Title VI uses a point system to punish candidates who violate the code, with a maximum limit of ten (10) points before the candidate is disqualified from the election. The point value of a “False Start” is 3 points with ± 2 points at the BOE discretion. For campaigning in illegal locations, the value is also 3 points ± 2 points at the discretion of the BOE. For technology violations, the point value is 3 points ± 3 at the BOE’s discretion.
Of course, if Will and Hetali did not violate Title VI, they could easily file a counter complaint against Christy and Rob claiming that the original complaint constituted “Harmful or Malicious Behavior” or intentionally ruining a campaign irreversibly or maliciously. This is punished with 8 points ± 2 points at the BOE’s discretion.
Christy, Hetali and Will conveyed their desire to have a clean campaign season, because no one wants to have this campaign stretch on for a long time. They all know that voter apathy was at a peak last year, and the year before (2011) saw one of the dirtiest Student Body President elections in recent memory. However, the BOE will likely have to halt Student Body President elections so that they can investigate the complaint, adding time to the already too long campaign season.
One candidate, however, remains clean in this messy complaint; in an interview earlier, Kevin Claybren highlighted that his absence from the controversy illustrates how his campaign is being run honestly and transparently.
The question remains: who is going to end up as the villain in this situation? Will public opinion favor the accusers or the accused?