Parties point fingers in hearing

N-ASUU-Grievence- Colby Patterson
Mike Bird, Team Unite presidental candidate presents his closing statements at yesterday evening’s ASUU elections grievance hearing in the Union. Photo by Brent Uberty.

Mike Bird, Team Unite presidental candidate presents his closing statements at yesterday evening’s ASUU elections
grievance hearing in the Union. Photo by Brent Uberty.

ASUU election campaigning has just started, and grievances against two parties are already being voiced.

A grievance hearing Tuesday night addressed allegations of campaign violations reportedly committed by the Vision Party and Team Unite. Allegations included speaking of a candidate’s campaign, asking for votes and hanging posters before the election season officially started. Oriene Shin of the Vision Party also accused Team Unite of recruiting students to run for office in their party while still serving in an ASUU position.

“I would hate to get penalized for something I never did,” said Justin Spangler, Vision’s candidate for president. Spangler was accused of asking for votes and hanging a poster before he was allowed to do so by campaigning rules, but he and his witnesses denied ever openly discussing his campaign with anyone before the appropriate time.

Shin’s grievance against Team Unite had pages of evidence to run through. The party was accused of violating elections packet rules in early recruitments and abuse of directorship in ASUU.

“I want to address fairness, transparency and the idea of neutrality,” Shin said as part of her grievance.

She went on to accuse Team Unite of not being fair in their recruitment times, not being clear with potential candidates who were already involved in ASUU and not being neutral in talking to students before recruitment in the party they should join.

“We want to give everybody a fair chance at all the candidates possible,” Shin said.

The six-page grievance against Team Unite included alleged text messages and emails sent in early November that accused various members from the party of early recruitment of potential candidates and abuse of power by Mike Bird, the party’s presidential candidate. Shin said she started receiving witness statements Monday and then started to compile the grievance document.

“I was very neutral when it came to my position,” Bird said.

He also said he never mentioned any party names to any students that were interested in running.

“We have been fair this whole time,” he said.

ASUU’s elections registrar is bound to hold grievance hearings when witnesses come forward with evidence accusing parties of campaign violations.

Leo Masic, one of the ASUU elections committee members, apologized multiple times for the delay while those on the board of representatives looked at the stacks of evidence, and said he hopes all parties remember, “We are all first and foremost students at the U.”

Elections registrar Taylor Thompson said the allegations are under consideration by the committee, which will be looking at taking further steps.

k.johnson@chronicle.utah.edu