Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, June 23, 2018

SASA loses endorsement privileges, Darmawan’s campaign sanctioned

Campaigns are not the only ones liable for what they do during election season. One student organization and one campaign violated election regulations during the endorsement process.

SASA no longer able to endorse

The South Asian Student Association’s (SASA) endorsements privileges for Student Government elections have been revoked because of violations of election policy.

SASA is now prohibited from endorsing any candidates because they did not offer Eric Reath, a candidate for SG secretary, an opportunity be interviewed for an endorsement, according to Chair of the Board of Elections Dan Lewis.

“It was enough to threaten the fair and free functioning of the election,” Lewis said.

SASA contacted every candidate running for a position, except for Reath, and met with everyone who responded, including Tim McBride, Jessica Darmawan and Ibraheem Samirah, all of whom are running for SG president, Kevin Sutherland, SG secretary candidate and Samuel Hagedorn, candidate for president of the Class of 2012, according to Ritanch Hans, president of SASA.

SASA endorsed McBride, Sutherland and Hagedorn, Hans said.

Hans cited a personal error in forgetting to copy and paste Reath’s e-mail address when contacting candidates.

“It was there, I just didn’t copy it,” Hans said.

Reath and Hans say they are now appealing the decision to revoke SASA’s endorsement rights.

“We deserve another chance,” said Hans. “[Our mistake] shouldn’t exclude us.”

Reath said the punishments against SASA, McBride and Hagedorn were harsh, that his intent wasn’t to affect the other races.

Reath also cited a possible conflict of interest on behalf of Palak Gosar, who is an SG senator, a member of Sutherland’s campaign staff and former SASA president.

Hans said Gosar acted only as a consultant with the rules of the endorsement process and gave no input about who should receive SASA’s nomination.

Darmawan’s campaign violates endorsement procedure

SG presidential candidate Jessica Darmawan and her campaign breached election regulations by sending out e-mails to organizations that bypassed the sanctioned endorsement process, Lewis said.

Darmawan’s campaign issued a letter of apology for e-mailing multiple organizations in the Student Organizations Network introducing her campaign.

"We never mentioned, like 'hey, endorse us,'" Darmawan said.

McBride, who reported the violation, said he was concerned these messages could be misconstrued as an attempt to gain endorsements without giving other candidates the same opportunity.

Endorsements by organizations on campus need to open to all candidates, according to election regulations.

McBride said he only wanted to make sure the endorsement process was clear to everybody.

“[The endorsement process] needed to be completely open and fair,” said McBride.

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