YDSA candidates face another campaign ban on last day of voting

mental supportTwo senators who were disqualified earlier this week were reinstated on May 5. | Elise Gregg, PantherNOW

Elise Catrion Gregg | Editor-in-Chief

On the last day of voting for student government, three socialist candidates are facing yet another campaign ban. 

Mere hours before voting closes, Young Democratic Socialists of America at FIU posted on Instagram that they had received another tier three violation, resulting in a 24-hour campaign ban as of 6:50 p.m. on March 5. 

According to College of Arts, Sciences and Education senator Daniel Salup-Cid, the newest bout of accusations comes from College Republicans president Jacob Aguirre. 

Emails provided by Salup-Cid detail Aguirre’s complaint, stating that he believes Salup-Cid, along with upper division candidates Joncarlo Ospina and Kassandra Toussaint, committed a tier one violation. “by continuing to not follow the Elections Rules and allowing SGA campaign material to stay up on their social media.” 

He argued that Toussaint should have removed previously posted social media material as part of the original ban, particularly an Instagram highlight titled “Campaign Diary”. 

“Since the YDSA account and Kassandra Toussaint did not take down these story highlights or campaign posts during their 72-hour ban, they broke the rules sanctioned by the Elections Board,” Aguirre argued.

He further claims that candidates had multiple of the same flyer in the Chemistry and Physics building in violation of the Elections Code (statute 6006.3). He adds that he believes that they additionally violated statute 6006.1 for YDSA’s organizational work to campaign for them. 

“Candidates are to be held responsible if those they collaborate with are violating ‘statutory rules,’ such as violating the posting policy,” Aguirre writes to the elections board. 

Like FIU GOP’s vice president, Matthew Gaynor, Aguirre was hoping for a tier one violation for all three candidates, which would have disqualified them entirely. 

Once again, the elections board disagreed. 

Aguirre was not at the Tuesday evening meeting, represented by fellow student Harlan Rifkind. 

During the meeting, Toussaint made similar arguments to the last meeting, saying “they were specifically advised that they were permitted to keep up past and old campaigns”, adding that they once again immediately removed posters once they learned of the infraction. 

Board members had several questions regarding YDSA’s involvement with candidates’ campaigning, particularly sorting through how students within and outside the organization help with campaigning and their awareness of campaign rules. 

During the meeting, Salup-Cid said that “that their candidacy is not overly centralized and because of this, the operation of where their [sic] flying is not super centralized.” 

All three posited that again, as soon as they knew of issues, they worked to resolve them and that in regard to social media, Aguirre’s argument is flat-out wrong.

Rifkind, arguing for Aguirre, made his final statement saying that candidates should be aware of posting policies, particularly Salup-Cid as an incumbent senator. 

“Candidates are liable for any constituents or party members who are posting,” Rifkind told board members. “Tier 1 violation recognizes this negligence.” 

Ospina responded, saying “they feel bullied, and this writing is ridiculous,” adding that he doesn’t believe they even deserve a tier three ban because they worked to fix the problem. 

The board ultimately found that tier one was too severe, but instituted a tier three judgment, keeping it to 24 hours because voting is almost over.

Members further added that existing flyers can remain up if they follow the code, but new material can’t be posted. 

Additionally, they allowed people outside YDSA to repost material, asking that candidates “try not to have YDSA post their material because it could look like they are campaigning through YDSA” essentially asking candidates to do their best to limit the proliferation of campaign material. 

Voting ends at 9:00 p.m. today – students can vote at voting.fiu.edu.

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