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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

AS Recall Election Code limits social media election campaigning

By Claudia Cooper

The Associated Students Board of Directors passed a motion prohibiting AS board members from using their personal social media accounts to campaign for the upcoming recall election at their weekly board meeting on Friday, Jan. 25.

The recall election will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 1 and end at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4.

The AS Board held a discussion to pass the AS Recall Election Code, which contains  policies and prohibitions with how to campaign and how to proceed with a recall election. This code also included an amendment that would prohibit the AS Board from campaigning for a recall election on their personal social media accounts.

This recall code was brought to attention after the board voted to hold a recall election for AS VP for Business and Operations Genaro Meza-Roa at the AS Board meeting on Jan. 18. The motion passed 6-1, according to a previous article by The Western Front.

Board members debated the use of personal social media to campaign and share their opinions on the recall election.

At this time, there is no official “vote yes” or “vote no” campaign regarding the recall election and students are encouraged to start their own campaigns on social media, according to Alec Willis, the AS Elections Coordinator. Meza-Roa said he will be starting his own “Vote No” campaign for this election.

“I myself am not the official “no” campaign, but I am the person in question and will be campaigning no,” Meza-Roa said.

Meza-Roa said he began the discussion of prohibiting AS Board members from using their personal social media to campaign because he does not have any social media platforms. He said that other board members using social media to campaign yes or no during this recall election would be an unfair advantage.

“I find this highly problematic because I can see how a personal profile could be used as a campaign profile for a week,” Meza-Roa said.

AS President Millka Solomon was in favor of using her personal social media to speak on recall elections.
“I don’t think we should not be able to say anything,” Solomon said.

The board members discussed a possible solution of running social media posts by the AS Board members through the AS office, which was suggested by Willis. Solomon argued that they are also Western students that should be able to post freely about this issue as well, even if they are on the board.

“There is no need to watch us because we are students and should have the same rules,” Solomon said.

Solomon said she wanted to be able to share her opinions with her personal social media following. She believes the members of the board have the most insight, because they have worked closely with Meza-Roa and should be able to share that with the public, she said.

AS VP for Student Life Anne Lee said that posting on personal social media accounts should either be prohibited or allowed, rather than constricted.

“We as a board should decide to post on our social media or campaign a different way,” Lee said.

The board came to a conclusion that campaigning can take place on social media, but must be through a page made strictly to campaign a specific election that is not associated with AS Board member’s personal accounts.

The Recall Election Code and the amendment that AS Board members are not allowed to campaign on their personal social media profiles passed 5-1, with Solomon opposed and AS VP Levi Eckman not present and therefore unable to vote at the time.

This article was updated on Jan. 30 to include the dates of the recall election.  

This article was updated on Jan. 31 to correct the board’s voting margin: AS VP Levi Eckman was absent and unable to vote, making the vote 5-1. 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, the board voted on this topic again in the following board meeting, February 1st, and voted to allow the use of social media platforms for campaigning for recall elections. The vote was 4/1/2 with Meza-Roa voting no and Hessami and Monkah abstaining.

  2. Hi there, the article says the vote passed 6-1, but it was actually only 5-1, as there was one Board Member who was not able to vote at this time.

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