A week of student government campaigning began with grievances filed against both WSU Student Association presidential candidates over alleged campaign rule violations. However, decisions by student boards have left both with no penalties and the executive races are continuing across campus.
Active campaigning for executive elections are restricted to a single week, beginning Monday, March 16 and ending Friday. The winners will be announced at Weber’s Got Talent.
The grievance filed against candidate Tessa Diamond concerned passive campaigning, an activity she engaged in before turning in her packet by sending out a mass text to at least 40 people Feb. 22 asking for support for her campaign.
According to election regulations, “Passive campaigning means that you can talk to people about why you’re running, but you cannot distribute any campaign materials, put up signs, hold rallies, etc.”
Active campaigning includes putting up signs, holding events and handing out campaign materials like fliers or cards.
While the texts fell into the category of passive campaigning, no candidates could engage in any such activities until after March 4. WSU’s election committee, which consists of a student senate-appointed chair and at least four students not running for office or supporting another candidate, ruled to dock Diamond 40 votes for the violation.
However, that decision was overturned Tuesday by the WSUSA Supreme Court, which ruled that the grievance was not filed within the required 24-hour period. The court removed the 40-vote penalty.
Last year, the election saw a total of 1,315 votes, so the penalty could have cost Diamond almost 3 percent of the vote.
Cash Knight, along with Clubs and Organizations Vice President candidate Gregory Woodfield and Activities Vice President candidate Kyle Froerer, violated campaign rules by sliding campaign cards under doors of dorm rooms in Wasatch Hall and leaving piles of cards throughout its cafeteria.
Election rules were handed out as part of a packet to all students interested in running for office. As noted in campaign regulations as part of the packet, distribution of campaign materials is not allowed on “tables, cars, desks, buildings, etc.” Candidates also can’t violate university prohibitions, which include distributing materials under dorm doors.
The elections committee ruled Tuesday that while placing stacks of cards in the cafeteria was a violation, it would not levy a penalty but “to educate on the process of unusual campaign requests.” It found that Knight, Woodfield and Froerer did not break campaign rules by slipping cards under the doors.
A second grievance was filed by Legislative President Jeffrey Henry against Diamond, alleging that she was actively campaigning before March 16 by holding a party off campus, both in violation of campaign rules.
The grievance was based on a Facebook event created by Diamond, and the election committee found that she had not violated any election policies in reference to this grievance.
Henry said after the Election Committee decision that his grievance was not meant to hurt Diamond but rather to clarify whether her actions had violated guidelines.
“The rules are supposed to keep the election level, fair and unbiased, because everyone is on the same page,” Henry said.
Diamond defended her actions to the Election Committee Monday and argued during the presidential debate Monday, “I bleed purple through and through. I love this school.”
Diamond is the current service vice president at WSU. Knight is a former lineman for WSU’s football program and is currently in student senate.
Knight also expressed his commitment during the debate.
“The passion that has grown for the students, for the university and for the people I work with is the same passion that commands me to run for student body president,” Knight said.
Jean Reid Norman contributed to this story.