Yale College Council presidential candidates Alan Kennedy-Shaffer ’06 and Steven Syverud ’06 will have their campaign spending limit halved as a penalty for violating election rules, the YCC’s election commission decided Tuesday night.
Three of the four presidential candidates were issued penalities or warnings last night. Syverud lost $30 of his discretionary campaign spending for submitting his statement of candidacy on the YaleStation portal three minutes and four seconds after Monday’s 9 p.m. deadline. R. David Edelman ’07 was issued a warning for starting a group for supporters of his campaign on thefacebook.com before the official beginning of public campaigning. Kennedy-Shaffer was issued a “warning with severity” and also lost $30 of campaign funds for misuse of thefacebook.com and for sending “hundreds of mass e-mails,” YCC Vice President Chance Carlisle ’05 said.
Kennedy-Shaffer received the harshest rebuke from the commission for e-mailing 798 students listed as his friends on thefacebook.com to solicit campaign support. Kennedy-Shaffer had argued that he was being penalized for having more friends than the other candidates.
Syverud said he was aware that his online submission might be close to the deadline and said he attempted to call Carlisle as 9 p.m. approached. Carlisle corroborated this statement, adding that he could not receive the calls because his cell phone was off. Syverud also said he thought he had submitted the statement on time.
“Basically, I was looking at a clock that was wrong,” he said.
The cover letter for the YCC Officer Elections Information Packet states that candidates submitting late statements would not be allowed to run. But both Edelman and presidential candidate Sam Penziner ’07 said they thought the commission’s decision to allow Syverud’s candidacy was fair.
“I certainly do not think this is something that should keep him from running,” Edelman said.
Penziner said he thinks the ruling may set a “bad precedent,” but he still would not want Syverud to be disqualified due to a “small technicality.”
Kennedy-Shaffer, however, said he found the ruling “outrageous,” citing the election rules and claiming that if he had committed the same offense, he would have been disqualified “without a second thought.”
“The vice president has been biased in his public statements and biased in applying the rules,” Kennedy-Shaffer said. “I say apply the rules equally to all candidates.”
In response to Kennedy-Shaffer’s accusations, Carlisle noted that he did not participate in the election commission’s unanimous vote regarding Syverud’s fine.
“This decision was supported by the entire election commission, the former election chair, and all of the candidates in the YCC presidential race with the exception of Alan,” Carlisle said.
Kennedy-Shaffer filed an official complaint with the commission, which he said he hopes YCC president Andrew Cedar ’06 will review.
“The vice-president has demonstrated his bias on this point, so we won’t get a fair ruling on this until we move to the highest level of authority in the YCC,” Kennedy-Shaffer said.
Cedar, however, said he has talked to the candidates and the commission members, and finds the ruling sound.
“I think that they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong,” Cedar said. “This is not a serious enough violation to warrant anything more than that.”
Secretarial candidate Kasdin Miller ’07 will also be penalized an amount yet to be determined for submitting her statement several seconds late, and vice-presidential candidate Ryan Atlas ’07 was issued a warning with severity for multiple “minor” violations, Carlisle said.
The election commission also decided not to extend the deadline for the position of Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee chair, leaving Jennie Przybylo ’07 as the sole candidate for the position.