USG presidential candidate Monish Tyagi has been accused of breaking several articles of the USG elections code because of a Facebook photo that USG vice presidential candidate Rohan Mehra alleges was taken at a party that looked like it might have had “significant amounts of alcohol present and being consumed.”
The alleged violation in the will be discussed at a hearing later today.
Mehra submitted a complaint and two photos that show Tyagi at a party wearing his campaign T-shirt. No alcohol is visible in the submitted paperwork. The complaint says the pictures were taken Friday and posted the next day.
This could violate articles of the USG elections code that say that campaign materials must be used in an approved manner and that violation of this is subject to immediate removal of the materials and/or sanctioning by the Elections Commission. The elections code also says, “The consumption or distribution of alcohol at any event related to a candidate’s campaign (or which has any campaign materials present) is strictly prohibited.”
Mehra, who is running with Alex Fadil, filed the complaint at 10:07 a.m. Monday.
“We want to hear what they have to say at the trial before they comment, because our allegations could be referring to something that is worse than what we think it is, or something that is not a big deal at all,” Mehra said. “We get along very well with Monish and Logan, so we don’t want to play dirty or do anything bad unless something actually comes up.”
“Our campaign team was extremely adamant about filling the complaint,” Mehra said. “Alex was just on his computer with someone looking over his shoulder, and it just came up into the news feed.”
In the complaint, Mehra said that appropriate action should be taken against Tyagi.
“We strongly feel as though wearing campaign shirts/having campaign materials at an alcoholic venue at night is not an approved manner for use of materials,” Mehra said in the complaint. “We feel as though there was a definite misuse of material, so sanctions should follow accordingly.”
The complaint will be heard at 9 p.m. in a closed hearing in the USG Office by the five members of the Elections Commission.
Article XII of the Elections Code gives the accused the right to hear the complaint, know the identity of the accuser and defend themselves with witnesses before the Elections Commission determines whether or not an infraction has taken place.
“The commission that we have now was interviewed and selected in October from a competitive list of applicants,” said Elections and Recruitment Co-Chair Barb Solish. “Since then, we’ve had weekly meetings to go over all aspects of the code, go over previous cases and create possible future cases where we deliberate and come up with potential sanctions.”
“All verdicts and sanctions will be emailed to the parties within 24 hours of the deliberation,” said an email from the Elections committee.
Fadil and Mehra said they do not want to make the charges they filed “a big deal.”
Candidate Eric Burse noted that all of the USG presidential candidates met before the elections cycle began and agreed to talk to one another first if an elections violation should arise and not file immediately.
“Rohan obviously thinks this is a significant violation of elections code if he is filing,” Burse said.
Current President Chris Cheng, whose sanctions last year resulted in 10 of their Trousdale signs being removed for two hours, said that the charges were part of the “learning experience” of running a campaign.
“It taught us that keeping track of details really helped us out in running our administration to keep an eye out for the rules and to make sure that everything went according to protocol,” Cheng said. “It helped us know now to make things run smoothly this semester and last semester.”
“It didn’t affect our campaign too much, because we just kept campaigning really hard all day,” Cheng said.
“Our competitors didn’t make it a point to get across to people, so they played fair as well,” said Nehi Ogboeven, current Vice President.
“A lot of these campaigns have a ton of volunteers and with those huge support networks, there’s a lot going on,” Cheng said. “The campaign was probably one of the biggest things we organized, so to keep an eye on everything can be really difficult.”
“We encourage all the candidates to continue to be diligent about their campaigning process,” Cheng said. “Make sure you know the rules backwards and forwards, and train your volunteers to run the cleanest campaign as possible.”
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that his accuser said the photo “was taken at a party with ‘significant amounts of alcohol present and being consumed.'” The accusation was that it appeared alcohol might have been present.