Grievances were filed against two Utah State University Student Association candidates after sending a text message to more than 2,000 USU students.
The message asked students to vote for Michael Scott Peters and Dallin Johnson for USUSA president and executive vice president.
It read, “Final USUSA voting is now live! Re-Vote Michael Scott Peters for President and Dallin Johnson for Vice-President for an improved experience at USU!” followed by a link to the USU voting website.
The legality of the mass message was brought into question by a number of individuals who filed grievances against the two candidates.
The USUSA election bylaws state “The use of electronic mail to actively campaign and solicit votes is prohibited,” under article VI section D.
Although text messages are not specifically restricted in the election bylaws, a hearing board meeting held Wednesday evening decided the two should be prohibited from actively campaigning until 6 p.m. today.
Grievances can be grounds for disqualification, but the hearing board opted for a more lenient penalty.
Rachael Fresh, Peters’ competitor for USUSA president, said she trusts the grievance board’s decision on how to penalize Peters.
Peters declined to comment and Johnson was not available for comment.
Brendon Brady, who is running unopposed for student alumni association vice president, said he received the text message. He said it was “pretty annoying, honestly.”
“I can see them changing the rules next year because in nature it’s against the rules to do that,” Brady said.
The message was sent with an anonymous mass messenger service, and many of the recipients did not know either candidate.
“It was shocking. I don’t think that should be allowed,” said Black Student Union president Jasmine Lee, who received the text.
Brady said he is unsure how the message will affect the election.
“I don’t know which way it’s going to swing things, but it definitely will impact it in some way,” he said.
Photo by Ethan Babcock