While the fundraising strategy of Stephen Post and Lauren Todd’s Undergraduate Student Government presidential campaign has come under scrutiny, it has yet to be declared in violation of the election bylaws. Should the issue be brought before USG’s judicial panel, however, the presidential candidate will find himself in familiar company — five of his fraternity brothers serve on the panel.
USG presidential candidate Stephen Post, a third-year in economics and political science, is in the same fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, as five of the Judiciary Panel’s 10 members, one of whom is the chief justice and another who is the clerk of court.
The official start date for USG campaigns is Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. A video posted to Facebook Wednesday night by Post included a link to a website where donations could be made to Post and his running mate, Todd, to support their “mission,” although the post and video never explicitly mentions USG, the presidential campaign, or voting.
Post’s campaign manager, Matt Barnett, a fourth-year in finance, has maintained that this is in accordance with USG campaigning bylaws, and that campaigns can call for “assistance” in campaigning at any time, provided they do not explicitly solicit votes. He confirmed to The Lantern that the donations would go to the presidential campaign.
As of Thursday afternoon, no brief disputing the Facebook post, video and fundraising page had been filed. However, Barnett acknowledged that the likelihood of the issue going to the judicial panel is high.
According to the standing rules of USG’s Judicial Panel, “Any Justice who exhibits a conflict of interest may recuse him or herself or may be forcibly recused by the Chief Justice.”
Connor Greenwood, chief justice and a third-year in political science and international studies, said in a statement that the Judicial Panel was aware of his fraternity brother’s fundraising strategy, and cited the same bylaw that Barnett cited when arguing that the move was allowed.
Greenwood declined to elaborate on his and other members of the Judicial Panel’s ties to Post through Delta Sigma Phi, saying only that, “The Judicial Panel is committed to maintaining a fair election and campaign season for all students.”
Update 2/16: This article has been updated to reflect that five of the 10 members of the Judicial Panel are members of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity.