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Election Code violation charges plague runoffs
Chinnan participates in runoff after appeal
By Scott Lange
Assistant News Editor
The USC presidential runoff was marred by a series of Election Code violation charges filed against both candidates. Although all candidates were eventually cleared of all charges, the lingering cloud of questionable campaigning may have affected voters' decisions.
Vikas Chinnan was charged with violating Institute policy by sending unsolicited e-mail to three CS TA lists. The Elections Committee voted to disqualify Chinnan on the charge on February 26. Chinnan appealed the decision to the Undergraduate Judiciary Cabinet (UJC).
"What we considered at the time were two parts of the OIT policy that it was plain that he violated," said Jenn Stokes, chair of the Elections Committee at the appeal. "We looked at whether or not this was a special privilege and whether or not.it was part of his official duties."
The UJC heard Chinnan's appeal on the afternoon of February 28. After hearing Chinnan's arguments, they decided to overturn the disqualification.
"The Cabinet concluded that mailing to this list is not a 'special computing privilege' and, thus, does not violate OIT policy," explained UJC Chairman David Cochran.
Meanwhile, two charges were being filed against Marc Galindo under the same regulation. The Elections Committee heard both complaints on the night of February 27.
The first charge Galindo faced concerned use of his staff prism account to host his campaign Web page. The second dealt with e-mail sent by a student not affiliated with Galindo's campaign. The Elections Committee voted not to disqualify Galindo on either charge.
"I respect the decision," said Galindo. "I'm glad that I was not disqualified because it was possible that the usage policy could have disqualified the two candidates that had received the most votes, and that would not have benefitted the students at all."
Fringe candidate Jamey Hammock believes the Elections Committee's behavior adversely affected the campaign.
"I think from looking at the two hearings for Marc and Vikas, the whole thing was a mockery of the system of justice," said Hammock. "[The Elections Committee] came into the meetings already having made up their minds."
Copyright © 1998 by Gregory S. Scherrer, Editor and by the Student Publications Board
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