Candidates removed from ballot following violations

By Katie Gardner
On April 9, 2013

  • Adam Hill and Alison VanDerHeyden

In the race for student body president, Adam Hill has officially been removed from the ballot following a number of violations. 

Hill and running mate Alison VanDerHeyden were removed from the race on April 7 following a hearing with the election committee. They were found to be in violation of multiple rules, and after two written warnings were given on April 3, the decision was made to remove the pair.

"We essentially had to take action," said Student Senate Speaker Lauren Scarlett, a member of the election committee. 

Another member, Student Senate Parliamentarian Brett Branscombe, agreed, saying that they were sure to be fair in the whole process. 

"We did our best to make sure there was due process to this," Branscombe said.

As for the violations, Hill admitted to all of them, but also said that he corrected them all in a timely manner. 

"I know I made some mistakes, but each time I was told of them I was prompt to respond and take action," Hill said.

The first violation, as stated in a letter written by the election committee, was the "passive solicitation of funds from students following the establishment and communication of a policy which prohibits such activities."

This refers to when Hill set up a donation button on his campaign Facebook page through which students could give money. Hill said he never received donations and took it down immediately upon being told that it was a violation.

The second violation was the "inappropriate use of University intellectual property in the form of the University Seal as prohibited by the University Graphic Identity and Branding Guide." This refers to when Hill used the official UNH seal to promote a sweepstakes on his campaign Facebook page. Not only was he not allowed to use the seal, but the sweepstakes also violated the rules.

The sweepstakes was set up through Libby's Bar and Grill, where Hill works, and was a raffle where gift cards would be given away to people who liked Hill's campaign Facebook page. Five winners were selected, but before all of the gift cards were distributed the election committee heard of the violation, which is that businesses cannot give money to a campaign. The gift cards will still be given to the winners, but Hill said that he is paying for them out of pocket.

The third violation was "implicit libel against another candidate as prohibited by campaign policy." This occurred when VanDerHeyden wrote a message on a classroom chalkboard encouraging people to vote for her and Hill. Someone then wrote a message next to it, which promoted candidates Bryan Merrill and William McKernan. It read, "Vote Merrill and McKernan, 2013-14 Pres/VP, The Only Candidates With Experience."

Hill then posted a picture of this chalkboard on his campaign Facebook page with the caption, "Unprofessional and slanderous. If you want strong leaders that will not allow ourselves or our friends sink to this level, vote Hill and VanDerHeyden." Hill removed this from the page when asked to by the election committee. He would also like to make it clear that he does not believe that either Merrill or McKernan were the ones to write on the chalkboard.

"I highly doubt it was them. I see it being a friend of theirs," Hill said. He also added that he meant no harm by his Facebook posting.

"I would never do something malicious," he said. 

The fourth violation was the "use of OSIL space for campaign purposes as prohibited by campaign policy." This occurred when Hill used the paper cutter in OSIL, the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, to make posters for his campaign. The use of any of the resources in the OSIL complex is strictly against campaign rules.

The fifth violation was the "inappropriate posting of campaign materials as prohibited by campaign policy and by MUB posting policy." This refers to when Hill hung campaign posters that were bigger than campaign policy allowed. He also covered up the posters of other student organizations, which the election committee frowns upon and the MUB prohibits.

Hill is still looking to win the election through write-in votes. He created the Facebook group "Allow Back on Ballot" to promote this new campaign, although he said he is thinking about deleting it. He still is going to campaign around campus and wants students to know that they can still vote for him.

"I would give 110 percent to this school, and I hope that they would help me, too," Hill said.

A lot of the school is already helping Hill, with several student organizations endorsing him for president. It is unclear as to whether or not they can still officially endorse a person who is not on the ballot, but Hill intends on still looking for more endorsements. 

Hill is also looking to start a petition to get back on the ballot, but he is not sure if this will be a possibility, he said. 

"I asked (the election committee) to be able to petition, but they said they would not discuss it at that time," Hill said.

As the April 17 and 18 election dates draw closer, Hill is just looking to spread the word to students that he is still a viable candidate. He believes that being removed from the ballot is an injustice and he wants people to realize that.

"I feel that the severity of these actions are much more extreme than the nature of my mistakes," Hill said.

Scarlett, meanwhile, said that she and the rest of the election committee only have one desire for how the rest of the election plays out.

"We hope that the rest of the election process passes without incident," Scarlett said.

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