Bill Bleier ’98 yesterday filed a complaint with Director of Student Activities Tim Moore alleging that Student Assembly presidential candidate Phil Ferrera ’96 violated election policy by campaigning early.
“I am tired of seeing dirty politics, and it is unfortunate to see a potential student leader break rules designed to insure fairness,” Bleier wrote in an electronic-mail message to Moore. “If he did break the rules, then the proper penalties should be addressed.”
Although not a member of the Assembly, Bleier said he is a concerned student frustrated by political antics within the Assembly.
“I’m sick of seeing politicians, who are supposed to be our role models, do this sort of thing,” Bleier said in an interview with The Dartmouth. “I’m not the type of person just to let something get by.”
Two sorority presidents told The Dartmouth on Tuesday that Ferrera approached them at the end of Winter term to seek their endorsement in the upcoming campaign. Such actions could violate election guidelines that stipulate students may not begin campaigning until April 4, one week before student elections.
The student election guidelines, which are written by the Election Advisory Committee, state that, “Campaigning shall be defined but not limited to … seeking an endorsement from a student or group of students; and similar activities … Students can organize their campaigns in advance, but actual campaigning may begin no earlier than seven days prior to the election date.”
Moore, who chairs the EAC, said he will soon investigate the complaint. The EAC is a group of students and administrators that oversees student elections.
Moore said he will talk to each of the candidates, Bleier and other people involved. He and the committee will determine if Ferrera has violated the rules and decide if it should take any action against him.
Ferrera said he approached the six sorority presidents at the end of last term to explain his platform. Ferrera said he considers these women his friends.
“I met with them as individuals, not as organizations,” he said Tuesday. “I’m not early campaigning. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not going to get tripped up on diction.”
Ferrera said the election policies are ambiguousand that he merely has been trying to organize his campaign.
Election guidelines state, “Organizing a campaign shall be defined but not limited to asking other students to help a candidate’s campaign, meeting with a group of students to develop campaign strategies … or similar activities.”
Last night, Ferrera said, “I believe that I and all the other presidential candidates have been organizing our campaigns in advance, which, according to the rules, has been acceptable behavior.”
Abbey Henderson ’96, president of Delta Gamma sorority, said on Tuesday that Ferrera, “asked for endorsements. He talked to other sorority presidents and wanted to say so-and-so endorsed him for the presidency.”
Beth Shugert ’96, Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority president last term, said, “He asked me to endorse him. My name would go on fliers and stuff.”
Two years ago, presidential candidate Nicole Artzer ’94 and Stewart Shirasu ’94 were sanctioned by the Election Advisory Committee for campaigning early.
Artzer and Shirasu met with the executive committee of the Coed Fraternity Sorority Council, the governing body of the College’s Greek organizations, to seek an endorsement.
Complaints were filed with the EAC against both candidates, who were prohibited from starting their campaigns until 24 hours after electioneering officially began for other candidates.
Ironically, Shirasu went on to win the election.
Shirasu resigned soon after his victory and Artzer went on to win a special election.
Bleier said he has garnered his knowledge of the Assembly by reading articles in The Dartmouth, attending two Assembly meetings, speaking with his roommate Aaron Klein ’98 and speaking with Assembly members such as Vice President John Honovich ’97.
Bleier also said he has spoken to Brandon del Pozo ’96, another candidate for Assembly president. Del Pozo and Bleier are both in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the College. But Bleier denied that he made the complaint to “bolster anyone’s campaign,” he said.
Tuesday, del Pozo said he would be “very angry” if either of his competitors for the presidency campaigned early and suggested he would file a complaint if one did. Yesterday, del Pozo declined to comment.
Jim Rich ’96, is the third candidate in the race for Assembly president.
Members of the EAC include: Senior Class President Alyse Kornfeld, Senior Class Vice President Hosea Harvey, former President of the Green Key Society Kaja Schuppert ’95, Student Assembly President Rukmini Sichitiu ’95, Class of 1995 Dean Lisa Thum, Class of 1996 Dean Kate Burke and Dean of Student Life Holly Sateia.
The committee will also have two seniors from the Student Assembly at-large membership. Moore said they have yet to be named.