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Pureval avoids disqualification

Melanie Watkins

Aftab Pureval and Deb Mason, presidential and vice presidential candidates for the Undergraduate Student Government, avoided being disqualified from the race yesterday when part of the USG’s Judicial Panel ruling was reversed.

The Judicial Panel ruled Thursday that, through Pureval’s promotion of a Red Wanting Blue concert held April 2, the team violated Election Governance Board bylaws by campaigning early.

The panel punished Pureval and Mason by ordering them to remove tangible campaign materials by Sunday. They were also ordered to include promotion costs, including advertisements placed in The Lantern and flyers, in their campaign budget, which is limited to $2,000. Exceeding the limit would result in disqualification, according to EGB bylaws.

Pureval and Mason appealed the Judicial Panel’s decision Thursday.

Pat Hall of Judicial Affairs heard the appeal and ruled that the concert costs should not be included in the team’s budget.

In the ruling, Hall said, “With regard to the Judicial Panel’s determination that The Lantern advertisements and posted flyers should be considered as donated campaign materials to Pureval/Mason campaign, I find no evidence to support this conclusion and thus the determination, and the corresponding sanction is reversed.

“While reasonable minds could differ on the question of whether, by permitting his name to appear in conjunction with the promotion of a concert, Aftab Pureval was engaging in ‘campaigning’ within the broad definition of that term contained in the EGB bylaws, there was no evidence offered at the hearing that anyone associated with the Pureval/Mason campaign paid for The Lantern advertisements or the posted flyers, or that they were donated to their team for the purpose of an election campaign,” he said.

According to the ruling, Red Wanting Blue was responsible for all costs, and the promotional materials do not reference Mason, an election or USG.

The Judicial Panel’s ruling that the team campaigned early was upheld.

Referring to the appearance of Pureval’s name in promotional advertisements, Hall said in the ruling, “While (Pureval and Mason) may feel strongly that this conduct should not be considered ‘campaign activity’ within the meaning of the EGB bylaws, it is clear that reasonable minds could differ regarding this conclusion, and thus deference must be given to the decision rendered by the panel.”

Hall also upheld the sanction determined by the panel for this violation, which was to remove all tangible campaign materials, including chalkings, posters and flyers. Because of the appeal ruling’s timing, Hall extended the deadline for removal of campaign materials until today.

Judicial Panel Chief Justice Teresa Stout said she understood the reasoning for Hall’s rulings.

“To my understanding, Pat Hall decided that the effect of Pureval’s posters was campaigning, but he doesn’t believe that Mark Anderson’s (Red Wanting Blue manager) intent was an act of campaigning,” Stout said.

“Therefore, Aftab was campaigning, but Mark Anderson wasn’t campaigning on behalf of Aftab.”

Pureval said he never intended the concert to serve as campaigning.

“I’m very sorry that some have construed it for being dishonest. We’re going to make a good-faith effort to make sure we take down all our tangible things. I’m just happy this has finally concluded,” Pureval said.

He said he would check for clarification, but he believed he could still maintain his Web site and participation in tonight’s debate.

In a separate Judicial Panel hearing last night, the Pureval and Mason team was sanctioned with a $5 fine from a different early campaigning incident, Stout said.

The complaint stemmed from a message encouraging people to vote for Pureval in someone’s Instant Messenger profile.

Elizabeth Ghandakly and Geoffrey Moes, presidential and vice presidential candidates for USG, were also fined $50 – along with 32 senate candidates – for turning in their petitions late.

According to that ruling, the fines will be upheld by reduction of budget.

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