ASGCC Campaigning Practices Called into Question

JENNIFER BERNARDO
El Vaquero Staff Writer

A week after the ASGCC election was decided, one of the losing candidates has questioned the tactics of his opponent.

Tade Hartoonian wrote a letter to the ASGCC election committee dated May 7 accusing president-elect Dan Wengert of illegally cross-campaigning by naming Rebeka Hovanessian in e-mail he sent out.

“Sending e-mails is not a violation of the campaign code,” Wengert said. “In my e-mail, I asked people to vote for me. I did not ask them to vote for me and Rebeka. Rebeka’s name and ballot number were on the e-mail, but that’s it.”

Wengert said that he was merely notifying the readers of Hovanessian’s ballot number and that he was in no way cross-campaigning with her.

But Hovanessian said that she was not aware that Wengert was going to include her name as part of his campaign. Wengert’s e-mail includes Hovanessian’s name on it, but it does specifically urge readers to vote for the two as a team.

Candidates are not allowed to cross-campaign according to election committee regulations.

“It’s a popularity thing,” Hovanessian said. The election committee wants to insure that everyone receives a fair chance at being elected. One way of ensuring that is to make sure that the more popular candidates do not join together in their campaigns to get an advantage over the newer, less-known candidates.

“I just feel strange about being included in Dan’s e-mail (campaign),” Hovanessian said. She said that she wonders if she had won the elections because of her own campaigning efforts, or because Wengert had included her name in his campaign e-mail. She also pointed out that it may look like cross-campaigning to the election committee.

Hovanessian said that Wengert has told her in the past that if he would like her to be a vice president if he were elected president. The two have also handed out their individual fliers, but that was the extent of their campaigning contact.

Another issue that was brought up by Hartoonian was that while campaigning to student athletes, he was told that Wengert had told the student that Hartoonian does not support sports. Wengert denies making such statements, and said that he told students he did not know his opponent’s stance on sports.

Hartoonian said that what bothers him most is that election committee student at large Georges Mikhail allegedly campaigned in favor of Wengert. “As part of the election committee, he should have been neutral,” Hartoonian said. He believes that it is a serious violation and that Mikhail should be reprimanded.

Mikhail vehemently denies that he campaigned for Wengert. He said that the closest he came to being around Wengert’s campaign was when the candidate came to a class he and other ASGCC officers were in.

Mikhail received a letter from the election committee on May 10 asking him to attend a meeting questioning his conduct during the elections. “I feel victimized here,” he said. “These accusations are far from the truth. I was never a campaign worker for anyone. I constantly encouraged people to vote and participate, but never did I tell people to vote for a particular candidate.”

Susie Acevedo of the elections committee said that Hartoonian’s allegations are currently being investigated, but that the details of the review are confidential. She said that any measures taken by the committee will be made public next week.