Live Updates: Here’s the running tabulation of Student Governing Association election violation filings

0
706

Editor’s note: In the context of the last two student body presidential elections that both drew out campaign violations in the double-digits, the Collegian has decided it will be a better use of resources and time to create one singular list we can update with campaign violations as they are filed. There may be cases where larger stories are warranted, but this list will be the main-reference point for violations. As information become available, the Collegian is committed to providing clear and speedy updates.

Violation 1:

  • Filed by: Assistant Attorney General Ashton Hess
  • Campaign suspected to be in violation: Tel Wittmer
  • Code or Regulation suspected to be violated: “For primary and general election candidates seeking a student body president or student body vice president position, campaign and campaign materials, such as stickers, buttons, T-shirts, websites and other materials not listed in these regulations, shall not be dispersed or publicized until 8 a.m. on the first day of classes of the spring semester.”
  • Summary: Posts on social media accounts for the campaign were made before the permitted date of campaign material distribution.
  • Disposition: Following a hearing on Jan. 27, the campaign was found to not be in violation of election codes.
  • Reasoning: Evidence was presented that proved the instagram account was previously used for other purposes and that the username had been changed just before 10 pm. on Jan. 21 to @wittmerlundeen2020 and that until Jan. 26, the account was private.

The first student body presidential election violation was reported on Monday, Jan. 27, four days before the deadline to file for the election.

The violation notification alleged that student senator and junior in secondary education Tel Wittmer’s campaign started distributing campaign materials before 8 a.m. on the first day of the the spring semester, which would have put his campaign in violation.

The materials in question are posts to the campaign’s instagram starting on Dec. 11, more than a month before the allowed date. Subsequent posts to the account occurred on Dec. 15, Jan. 6, Jan. 7 and Jan. 20.

At the hearing and in the closed discussion following the hearing, evidence was presented that proved the instagram account was previously used for other purposes and that the username had been changed just before 10 pm. on Jan. 21 to @wittmerlundeen2020 and that until Jan. 26, the account was private. The election commission decided the campaign was not in violation of election codes.

Though posts were made prior to the allowed date, “the account was not used to create a public presence and promote the campaign” until it was permitted.

Violation 2:

  • Filed by: Tom Ford, manager of an opposing student body presidential campaign and junior in philosophy
  • Campaign suspected to be in violation: Tel Wittmer
  • Code or Regulation suspected to be violated: “For primary and general election candidates seeking a student body president or student body vice president position, campaign and campaign materials, such as stickers, buttons, T-shirts, websites and other materials not listed in these regulations, shall not be dispersed or publicized until 8 a.m. on the first day of classes of the spring semester.”
  • Summary: The violation notification says the campaign received compensation for campaign t-shirts before the allowed time. According to the documentation, “pre-payment for materials is against the spirit of the statute.” These materials and compensation for them were made available “far before” permitted.
  • Disposition: Following a hearing on Jan. 29, the campaign was found to not be in violation of election codes.
  • Reasoning: Evidence was presented that proved the campaign materials in question were not ordered until Jan. 22 and were not distributed until Jan. 26.

The violation notification alleged that student senator and junior in secondary education Tel Wittmer’s campaign started distributing campaign materials before 8 a.m. on the first day of the the spring semester, which would have put his campaign in violation.

The materials in question are campaign t-shirts that were allegedly distributed and paid for before 8 a.m. on the first day of classes of the spring semester.

“Payment entails distribution of materials before the allotted time period,” the complaint reads.

At the hearing and in the closed discussion following the hearing, evidence was presented that showed the t-shirts were not ordered until Jan. 22 and were not made available to “immediate” campaign members until Jan. 26. The election commission decided the campaign was not in violation of election codes.

Violation 3:

  • Filed by: Tom Ford, manager of an opposing student body presidential campaign and junior in philosophy
  • Campaign suspected to be in violation: Tel Wittmer
  • Code or Regulation suspected to be violated: “For primary and general election candidates seeking a student body president or student body vice president position, campaign and campaign materials, such as stickers, buttons, T-shirts, websites and other materials not listed in these regulations, shall not be dispersed or publicized until 8:00 a.m. on the first day of classes of the spring semester.”
  • Summary: The violation notification says campaign materials were publicized before allowed, citing specifically Venmo descriptions.
  • Disposition: Following a hearing on Jan. 29, the campaign was found to not be in violation of election codes.
  • Reasoning: The election commission decided Venmo is not social media. Also, unclear Venmo descriptions could not reasonably be regarded as related to campaign activities.

The third violation notification alleged that student senator and junior in secondary education Tel Wittmer’s campaign started publicizing the campaign before 8 a.m. on the first day of the the spring semester, which would have put his campaign in violation.

This violation argues that a Venmo transaction prior to 8 a.m. on Jan. 21 publicizes the campaign, which would have put the Wittmer campaign in violation of election codes.

It was decided that, not only is Venmo not a “form of social media,” but also that the description attached to the Venmo transaction with campaign manager and senior in biology Olivia Pruss was not easily identifiable as “related to a presidential campaign.”

The description reportedly included a WL — the first initials of the surnames of the candidate and his likely running-mate junior in fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology Lane Lundeen — and a t-shirt emoji.

“Making this payment to Olivia Pruss … is not the campaign itself,” the determination reads. “Therefore, any individuals who engage with the Venmo payment would not be engaging with the campaign.”

Violation 4:

  • Filed by: Hayley Spellman, elections commissioner and senior in political science and communication studies
  • Campaign suspected to be in violation: Robert Wasinger
  • Code or Regulation suspected to be violated: “Each primary election candidate shall attend one of at least two mandatory meetings completed by 5 p.m. on the Tuesday of the week immediately prior to the primary election as specified by the elections commissioner.”
  • Summary: The candidate failed to appear at one of the mandatory meetings.
  • Disposition: The violation was withdrawn. The hearing was canceled.
  • Reasoning: The violation notification was withdrawn because the candidate rescinded his filing, ending his student body presidential campaign.

Robert Wasinger, senior in industrial engineering, was suspected to be in violation of campaign regulations after failing to appear at a mandatory campaign informational meeting. The violation was withdrawn by Spellman after Wasinger withdrew his campaign from the student body presidential race. The hearing was cancelled and the violation voided.

Violation 5:

  • Filed by: Hayley Spellman, elections commissioner and senior in political science and communication studies
  • Campaign suspected to be in violation: Jacob Casey
  • Code or Regulation suspected to be violated: “Campaign action reports shall contain a list of all campaign actions (including planned campaign actions which will take place after the submission deadline), the date and time of and participants in each campaign action, a list of campaign staff and a short description of their duties, and any other information deemed necessary by the elections commissioner.”
  • Summary: In this campaign cycle, social media posts are considered campaign actions, and the campaign failed to report three posts on Twitter and two posts on Facebook in the Campaign Expense Reports and Campaign Action Reports that were due at 4 p.m. on Feb. 7.
  • Disposition: Following a hearing on Feb. 10, the campaign was found to be in violation. A revised Campaign Action Report is due within 24 hours of the hearing.

Jacob Casey, junior in hospitality management and political science, was found to be in violation of election regulations for failing to disclose a campaign action in the Campaign Action Report all campaigns were required to submit by 4 p.m. on Feb. 7.

Spellman said the the elections committee considers social media posts to be official campaign actions, therefore they must be disclosed on the necessary documentation.

The violation notification says the campaign failed to report five social media posts split between Twitter and Facebook in their reports.

The campaign is expected to submit a revised Campaign Action Report.

Violation 6:

  • Filed by: Hayley Spellman, elections commissioner and senior in political science and communication studies
  • Campaign suspected to be in violation: Hannah Heatherman
  • Code or Regulation suspected to be violated: “K-State copyrighted or trademarked logos (e.g. Kansas State University, the Powercat, Willie the Wildcat) may be used with permission of the Elections Commissioner or designee after counsel with K-State’s director of trademark licensing. If approved for use, candidates or campaigns must follow the university’s branding guidelines.”
  • Summary: Trademarked logos from Kansas State were used on two separate occasions in campaign related materials. One instance included a lapel pin with the Powercat in a campaign photo on social media. The second part of the violation relates to the usage of K-State branded material throughout the campaign’s video. The usage of K-State’s likeness was not approved by the elections commissioner.
  • Disposition: Following a hearing on Feb. 10, the campaign was found to not be in violation of election codes.

The sixth suspected campaign violation was filed against current speaker of the student senate and junior in finance Hannah Heatherman, but the campaign was not found to be in violation.

According to the campaign notification, Heatherman’s campaign used the likeness or brand of Kansas State in campaign related materials on two separate occasions without the permission of Spellman.

The first case was related to a lapel pin with the Powercat logo worn in campaign photos that appeared on social media starting on Jan. 21.

The second case mentioned in the campaign violation notification suggests the campaign video has “numerous” violations of the statute that prohibits the usage of the K-State brand in campaign materials.

Violation 7:

  • Filed by: Hayley Spellman, elections commissioner and senior in political science and communication studies
  • Campaign suspected to be in violation: Tel Wittmer
  • Code or Regulation suspected to be violated: “Campaign action reports shall contain a list of all campaign actions (including planned campaign actions which will take place after the submission deadline), the date and time of and participants in each campaign action, a list of campaign staff and a short description of their duties, and any other information deemed necessary by the elections commissioner.”
  • Summary: The campaign website, considered a campaign action, was not reported in the Campaign Expense Reports and Campaign Action Reports that were due at 4 p.m. on Feb. 7.
  • Disposition: Following a hearing on Feb. 10, the campaign was found to be in violation. A revised Campaign Action Report is due within 24 hours of the hearing.

The violation notification alleges that student senator and junior in secondary education Tel Wittmer’s campaign violated campaign regulation by failing to include campaign actions in the Campaign Action Report due on Feb. 7. The campaign was found to be in violation.

The campaign website, which is linked to in the bio of a campaign social media account, was not disclosed in the action reports.

Spellman said the the elections committee considers social media posts to be official campaign actions, therefore they must be disclosed on the necessary documentation.

A revised Campaign Action Report is due within 24 hours of the hearing.

Violation 8:

  • Filed by: Hayley Spellman, elections commissioner and senior in political science and communication studies
  • Campaign suspected to be in violation: Tel Wittmer
  • Code or Regulation suspected to be violated: “K-State copyrighted or trademarked logos (e.g. Kansas State University, the Powercat, Willie the Wildcat) may be used with permission of the Elections Commissioner or designee after counsel with K-State’s director of trademark licensing. If approved for use, candidates or campaigns must follow the university’s branding guidelines.”
  • Summary: The suspected violation relates to the usage of K-State branded material throughout the campaign’s video. The usage of K-State’s likeness was not approved by the elections commissioner.
  • Disposition: Following a hearing on Feb. 10, the campaign was not found to be in violation.

The eighth violation notification alleged that student senator and junior in secondary education Tel Wittmer’s campaign violated elections regulations that prohibit the usage of the Kansas State brand in campaign materials. The campaign was not found to be in violation.

According to the campaign notification, Wittmer’s campaign used the likeness or brand of K-State in the campaign video on two separate occasions. This action was not approved by Spellman.

Violation 9:

  • Filed by: Matthew Swords, elections committee member and junior in business administration and modern languages.
  • Campaign suspected to be in violation: Logan Ebert, Erick Echegaray Enciso, James Fogel, Garrett Frankenfield, Aaron Middaugh, Bryson Meinhardt, Yash Ahire, Javen McCreight, Pingping Chen, Hayden Gwinner and Jared Yankovich
  • Code or Regulation suspected to be violated: “Each general election candidate except candidates for Graduate Student Council offices shall attend one of at least two mandatory meetings completed by 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday one week prior to the general election as specified by the elections commissioner. A candidate may be excused from this requirement only if the candidate has received written permission from the Elections Commissioner prior to the last scheduled meeting.”
  • Summary: The general election candidates failed to attend mandatory informational meetings.
  • Disposition: At a hearing on Feb. 18, all candidates were found to be in violation. As such, they are disqualified from participating in the election.
  • Reasoning: Failure to attend the mandatory meetings without justification is grounds for the removal of their names from the ballot.
Advertisement
SHARE
Kaylie Mclaughlin
My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the Editor in Chief of the Collegian. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a junior in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. As a third generation K-Stater, I bleed purple and my goal is to serve the Wildcat community with accurate coverage. I am fueled by a lot of coffee and I spend my (sparse) free time watching stand-up comedy.