With a day left before polls close for the Yale College Council runoff elections, the YCC Election Committee cited three of the four candidates in the running for YCC president and Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee chair for breaches of election regulations ranging from minor infractions to severe violations. In the most serious case, the committee severely restricted the campaigning privileges of presidential candidate Larry Wise ’08.
The Election Committee cited Wise for illegally e-mailing the majority of students in Morse College and for setting up voting stations with laptop computers outside of Commons Dining Hall, as well as for actions by his supporters in e-mailing panlists of student organizations that did not endorse him, including the cultural group Alianza, the Alpha Epsilon Phi fraternity, and the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, YCC Vice President Marissa Brittenham ’07 said.
Brittenham said the Election Committee considered revoking Wise’s candidacy, but decided against it in light of the ongoing runoff.
“There has been no recent precedence of this happening, and I think throwing someone out of the race at this point would be really difficult for either of the candidates to handle,” Brittenham said. “[The committee members] resolved that it was their job to curb infractions but not to decide elections.”
The Election Committee has instead prohibited Wise from any further campaigning in the form of e-mails, e-mails from supporters, flyers or table tents for the remainder of the election period, which ends at 9 p.m. tonight.
The committee also cited Wise’s opponent, current YCC Treasurer Emery Choi ’07, for a minor violation involving a facebook.com advertisement set up by a supporter who falsely claimed that Choi had Wise’s support in the election.
Wise said he respects the decision of the committee members, but he said his infractions were unintentional.
“I made honest mistakes,” he said. “They are doing the best job they can, just like I’m doing the best job I can.”
Choi did not comment with respect to his own citations, but seemed less certain that Wise’s infractions were accidental.
“I think it’s very unfortunate that a candidate running for the office of YCC president stooped to such a level,” Choi said.
Brittenham said Wise did try to correct a mistake made by one of his supporters who had e-mailed the AEPi panlist, stopping the supporter from sending additional e-mails. But she said that despite Wise’s status as president of the Morse College Council, his use of the Morse e-mail list was “blatantly illegal” because the council had not officially endorsed him.
The establishment of voting stations by Wise’s campaign, while not illegal, was unethical, Brittenham said.
“You can’t ask people to vote in public like that when you’re looking over their shoulder,” she said.
Brittenham said that although she thinks Wise’s actions significantly affected the outcome of the election, she hopes the penalty imposed on his campaign will create a level playing field for the runoff elections. But if she or the Election Committee receives any further complaints about Wise’s campaign activities, she said, the committee is likely to revoke his candidacy.
Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee chair candidate Hassan Siddiq ’08 was also cited for a supporter’s action of using facebook.com to e-mail all students with last names starting with the letters “S” and “T”. Like Wise, Siddiq has had his campaigning privileges revoked for the remainder of the voting period.