The ASWSU Judicial Board presented their findings of no decision and not guilty on suspected election violations.
Four cases came before the judicial board during the 2012 ASWSU presidential election. The first two revolved around the campaigning of junior political science major Joey Pacific and senior neuroscience and psychology major Samantha Hege at a Department of Residence Life monthly meeting.
The judicial board ruled no decision on the first case, which concerned an alleged abuse of power as state employees at a residence life meeting. The board ruled that the alleged infraction fell under the Revised Code of Washington, which is not within the judicial board's jurisdiction. They then ruled not guilty to Pacific and Hege’s campaigning at a residence life meeting because the board interpreted residence life in the bylaws as not a registered student organization.
The third case concerned Pacific’s change of his ASWSU senator Twitter account into his campaign Twitter account. ASWSU Pro-Tempore Derrick Skaug alleged that Pacific violated the ASWSU Code of Ethics. The board ruled not guilty of any violation of the code of ethics because Twitter is not considered a primary resource of ASWSU.
The final case was an appeal filed by Pacific and Hege against the initial ruling of the election board regarding a video featuring music artist Allen Stone that supported the Pacific/Hege campaign. The judicial board ruled not guilty and overturned the election board’s ruling that the video could not be used.
“We worked hard to run an honest and clean campaign, and Samantha and I are both glad that that was recognized by the judicial board,” Pacific said.
Due to the current use of social media and lack of bylaw clarification, the judicial board recommended in all their decisions a rewriting of the elections codes in Title VI of the bylaws.
“We suggest a very thorough examination and possible restructure of Title VI of the bylaws to really clear everything up,” ASWSU Justice Nicholas Goodman said, “because those bylaws were written a really long time ago and they’ve fallen into somewhat of a disrepair.”
James Cockburn, district 1 senator and chair of the ASWSU Internal Affairs Committee, agreed with the recommendation.
“It seems clear that in social media there needs to be some definitions as far as what’s acceptable and what’s unacceptable,” Cockburn said. “And then also just looking at how campaigns are run, in this modern era, just holistically. It’ll be interesting to see what we come up with.”
He said this would provide a great opportunity for the judicial board and senate to work together on ASWSU legislation. Other input for the rewrite of the election codes will come from candidates, the election board, senators and other interested parties, he said.
Pacific, who is also a district 6 senator, said the senate must determine how ASWSU will regulate social media in the future. He said the current election codes allow social media, but that is all that is stated in the bylaws. The rewriting will be a senate project in the months before the semester ends, he said.
“I believe there should be fewer regulations on the election in general,” Pacific said. “It’s my opinion that a clearer, shorter code is more beneficial than a lot of regulations, but we still need to balance that with making sure we don’t let the elections interfere with student academics and student life in general.”