After deliberations that began at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and concluded around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Undergraduate Student Government elections commission determined both presidential tickets had committed violations of the elections code.
Matt Arkfeld and Alex Cascante were cited for not using the “Vote On” logo on their campaign shirts, the elections and recruitment committee wrote in its decision. USG Election Code article VII, section D2 stipulates that all candidates are required to display a “Vote On” logo on their campaign shirts.
Arkfeld and Cascante were also cited for violating Election Code article VI, sections A, B and C for distributing campaign photographs online during the research period, which is prior to Feb. 4 at midnight, when campaigning officially began.
Christian Kurth and Ryan Park were cited for violating article II, section A3 and article IX, section C by communicating with a currently seated USG member, who was copied on an email between supporters. They were also cited for violating article IX Sections E and F by implying that Program Board, the Black Student Assembly and USG endorsed the candidates in using USG’s pin maker to make campaign pins and using USG’s oversized Tommy Trojan logo.
The sanctions stipulate that both presidential and vice presidential tickets must remove all campaign material along Trousdale Parkway for the remainder of the campaign period. The material had to be removed by Wednesday at 8 a.m.
The Arkfeld-Cascante ticket and their team members will also not be allowed to campaign Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Trousdale Parkway between Child’s Way and 34th Street or in front of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.
The two sets of complaints were filed on Tuesday. Kurth said earlier that day 11 Kurth-Park signs were removed or stolen from Trousdale without the campaign’s permission.
“It was not our intention to turn this into a campaign of people sanctioning each other,” Kurth said. “We’re running a very clean campaign but, when there’s sabotage happening, we had to take action. This is very important to me.”
Arkfeld said the photographs for his campaign were not published online before campaigning began and the “Vote On” logo was on the T-shirt design sent to the printer, but was not printed accordingly.
“It was an honest mistake and we handled it accordingly,” Arkfeld said. “We were very transparent and upfront about it.”
Cody Rapp, campaign manager for the Kurth-Park ticket and a former Greek senator, filed the official complaint against the Arkfeld-Cascante ticket. The Arkfeld-Cascante ticket brought the complaint against the Kurth-Park ticket.
Any USC student who is not on the USG elections commission is allowed to file a complaint. After a complaint is filed, the elections commission takes a vote to determine if it is worthy of having a trial. If the commissioners decide it is worthy, a trial is set at a time when all parties can meet.
“We have this process in order to guarantee a fair race and make sure that people are held accountable,” said Alex Sellers, co-director of USG elections and recruitment. “Then, each candidate has the opportunity to do their best.”
Sellers noted that violations during presidential campaigns have occurred in past elections.
“Violations have occurred previously,” Sellers said. “But they have not happened to this magnitude before. We have never had so many complaints filed in one day.”
Despite the sanctions, Kurth said he will not let the penalties to deter their campaign efforts.
“We will be campaigning [Wednesday],” Kurth said. “We’ve been out here every single day and longer than anyone else.”
Arkfeld plans to continue campaigning as well.
“We’re trying to have a positive experience for both parties and play by the rules,” Arkfeld said. “We want to maintain honesty and a genuine attitude as we have this entire election.”
Online voting for the election closes Thursday night at 8 p.m.
Correction; A published version of this incorrectly stated that Arkfeld said the photographs for his campaign were published online before campaigning began, but they were not published online before campaigning began. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.