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USG campaign not without controversy

Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidates knew they would have to spend a week anticipating the results of this year’s election. But they didn’t know they would be left in suspense for a day longer than expected.

The delay was due to candidate concerns regarding the Rock the USG Vote ’08 event and the Waynick and Mutgi for USG ’08 organization that hosted and sponsored the event.

Rock the USG Vote ’08, which was held in the Union Multipurpose room last Wednesday, gave students the chance to meet all presidential and vice-presidential candidates while enjoying free food, drinks and music.

According to USG Chief Administrator Ashley Douglas, a formal complaint was e-mailed to her last Friday by Jarell Potts and Jeremy Lehman addressing a number of concerns that were raised after the candidates attended the Rock the Vote event.

The first concern was centered around the assumption that Waynick and Mutgi made claims denying any participation in Waynick and Mutgi for USG ’08, although their names were included in the organization’s title.

Once Douglas was given a copy of the organization’s handbill along with the event titles advertisement, it was found the two did not share the same color scheme or design. As a result, the Chief Administrator and the Procedures and Appeals Board decided there was no connection between the two.

The second concern involved the Student Budget Committee annual funding request made by Waynick and Mutgi for USG ’08 along with a request for spot funding and Coca-Cola funding.

The concern was brought up in light of the fact that SBC funding comes from the student body and was being used to further the advancement of a particular campaign, Douglas said.

‘While the organization did receive $450, the money came from Coca-Cola funding and not SBC funding,’ she said. ‘The organization also received donations from those entertaining the event.’

Waynick’s involvement with SBC was also brought up as a concern by opposing candidates.

But after meeting with him and another SBC co-chair, the Procedures and Appeals Board found there to be no conflict because ten other students were present during the allocation of funds.

Also, Waynick removed himself from the meeting once a representative from Waynick and Mutgi for USG ’08 came to request funding. He was also absent during the presentation as well as the decision process and was not even made aware of the outcome until it was public knowledge, Douglas said.

The announcements made by Dance Marathon advertising Rock the Vote through e-mails and listservs also raised concerns among the candidates, although the announcements were found to be justified, Douglas said.

But Lehman felt there was simply no connection between the two events and any advertising done was unfair.

‘There is no way that Rock the Vote was part of [Dance Marathon],’ Lehman said. ‘Advertising that way is unfair and unethical.’

And though the new president and vice president have already faced a great deal of turmoil before even officially entering office, both Waynick and Mutgi plan on putting the situation behind them.

‘We are not affiliated with the group [Waynick and Mutgi for USG ’08] in any way, shape or form,’ Waynick said. ‘The vote showed we were what the students want for the next 365 days.’

But for Potts, this issue is something that cannot simply be brushed off.

‘I feel that they should have been disqualified because they’re cheaters,’ Potts said. ‘I’m sleeping good at night because I ran a clean campaign and I can’t say the same for everyone.’

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