Student body presidential and vice-presidential candidates Andrew Huschka and Laura Rachelle White were found guilty of one major campaign violation by the Student Governing Association Elections Review Committee on Thursday. However, due to the circumstances of the violation, no major disciplinary actions took place.
The committee met Thursday for a three-hour hearing, which was partially closed to the public to protect the privacy of the parties involved.
On Feb. 17, a minor infraction was addressed by then-elections commissioner Dave Hoffman, senior in mass communications and sociology, for a misplaced campaign sign. The infraction stemmed from a complaint filed jointly by the Henry/Stoskopf and Swift/Schultz campaigns and a sanction resulted, which is essentially a warning.
“Robert and I filed those violations because the rules for the elections are pretty clear-cut,” said current student body presidential candidate Dalton Henry. “I would have expected if Wayne and I would have broken a campaign regulation that another campaign would have taken the same action.”
Minor infractions are dealt with at the discretion of the elections commissioner, and major infractions are handled by the SGA Elections Review Committee.
During the hearing, Huschka and White were accused of five infractions and only found guilty of one major violation. Four of the five complaints discussed at the hearing were filed jointly by the Henry/Stoskopf and Swift/Schultz campaigns. The other was filed by a student living in the residence halls who could not be reached for comment at press time.
The first complaint dealt with illegal signs for an open forum, which were hung by members of the K-State Marching Band before signs could legally be used to promote a campaign. The charges were dropped because the signs were hung by band members and not anyone from the Huschka/White campaign.
The second complaint dealt with chalking that was too close to an entrance, but was dismissed after the chalking was measured.
The third complaint dealt with a discrepancy in the campaign’s expense report, but was dismissed because the policy was misinterpreted.
The fourth complaint, which Huschka and White were found guilty of and sanctioned for, was an e-mail that accidently was sent over the College of Business Administration listserve rather than the Beginning of A Promising Profession listserve. The e-mail was accidentally sent out over the CBA listserve by a secretary in the college who is responsible for all listserve e-mailing within the college itself.
Since the act was illegal but unintentional and not actually committed by a member of the Huschka/White campaign, only a sanction was issued.
“We were found guilty of the violation in order to show people that this act did break the election code and regulations,” White said. “However, since it was not provoked by our campaign and was just an honest mistake by a faculty member unaffiliated with our campaign, no disciplinary actions were taken. It was never intended to gain an unfair advantage over other candidates.”
The fifth complaint was filed by a residence hall member and dealt with the alleged misplacement of 31 posters on walls and windows of one of the residence halls. Huschka and White had issued a letter with all of the rules to everyone who received a campaign poster and the charges were dropped.
“With our campaign, we’ve been trying to get as many students involved as possible with the SGA elections process,” Huschka said. “Many of them are unaware of the rules and regulations of SGA. We have informed our supporters of the rules. If you look closely at any campaign, because of the sensitivity of the rules, mistakes have been made and are going to be made.”
Huschka and White said they have committed all of their time to campaigning and have filed no complaints on any of the other campaigns.
“The election rules and regulations are in place for a reason,” said Amy Schultz, former vice-presidential candidate and Student Senate chair. “If you look at student elections across the nation that don’t have strict rules you can see the process has become out of control and students’ reputations are damaged. In my opinion, it is very important that the rules be followed to ensure a fair and equal process for all candidates to make sure that one group of candidates doesn’t have an unfair advantage over another.”
Schultz also said that after the election is over, all candidates will meet to look at revising election policies.