Was the punishment decreed by ASUU Supreme Court fair, or should it have been worse?

By Christina Coloroso and Jessie Fawson

Fawson and Coloroso: The ASUU Supreme Court ruled Sunday to prohibit the BLOC Party’s top three candidates from including their names on official student ballots. The move came in response to an investigation of the BLOC Party’s finances, which revealed an error in reporting expenditures and income.

As punishment for this improper disclosure, the BLOC Party was initially required to suspend campaign activities for one day prior to the election. The party attempted to appeal this decision, but an even stricter punishment was imposed on the three top candidates, while lessening the punishment for those running for Assembly and Senate.

The candidates for ASUU president, vice president and senior class president for the BLOC Party have now been reduced to mere write-in candidates-meaning their names won’t be listed, but if students wish to vote for them, they must write in the name.

The question now becomes, is this punishment fair?

Coloroso: No-in fact, it should have been harsher.

It’s not as though the election rules came as a surprise. Potential candidates must attend an extensive orientation on the regulations and procedures of the campaign. If they don’t go, they are fined.

They are given handbooks with instructions and guidelines so clear that it is almost more difficult screw them up than to follow them. With all this guidance and preparation beforehand, all candidates should have developed a strong sense of what is allowed and what will get them into trouble.

With that in mind, the court’s ruling was inconsequential in comparison with the improper behavior of those involved.

Fawson: The decision handed down by the Supreme Court was a just decision.

The candidates who were directly at fault-whether because of ignorance or dishonesty-will face severe repercussions. The ruling makes it incredibly difficult for those three to win the campaign, as their names are not even available as options for voters. This punishment may cost them the election!

It is fair, though, because I consider it focused enough on the perpetrators that the rest of the party will still be given a fighting chance to survive.

Coloroso: While the Supreme Court’s decision was correct in intention, it certainly did not go far enough to punish the three people at fault. The top candidates, though not on the ballots, are still permitted to campaign normally, pass out their T-shirts, talk to voters and participate in election debates.

If this ASUU election were governed by the same rules actual political candidates in Utah face, neglecting to file proper campaign finance reports would be disqualification from the election altogether.

In the Supreme Court’s decision, they acknowledged that disqualification was considered-and while the justices felt that punishment was too extreme, it was, in fact, the correct one. With all the regular tools still at their disposal, the candidates unfortunately have a chance to win an election in which they cheated.

The student body should feel outraged that the people asking for their support did not even respect them enough to run an honest campaign.

Fawson: It is true; they did not run an honest campaign. If they had, the Supreme Court wouldn’t have ruled against them. But this is punishment enough.

Most vote because they recognize a name-that is why so much money is spent nationally and locally getting a candidates name out there for people to see.

These three candidates went from being the most-likely winners to being the most-likely losers. There is no reason to punish everyone else or to ask for a stricter punishment. The penalty is strong enough.

The BLOC Party has candidates for all 64 seats, not just the top three positions. It would be unjustified and harmful to the student body to punish all those candidates merely because their leaders erred. This way, those who followed the rules will still be able to campaign the day before elections begin-and those who broke them will now be working at a disadvantage.

Coloroso: Here’s the deal. Those wishing to lead others should deserve it. They should have the characteristics of good leaders. They should be worthy not only of the office they seek, but also the trust and support of their followers.

In this circumstance, the party’s leadership is entirely and solely at fault. They either knew the rules, chose to break them and then chose to try to hide it, or they were so irresponsible and dim that they left this critical aspect of their campaign to someone who was not qualified to handle it.

Sounds like the makings of bad leadership to me. If mistakes like this are already happening, think of what they are capable of if elected.

Fawson: But that isn’t for the Supreme Court to decide-it should be up to the voters.

There are good people in both parties and everyone makes mistakes. There is a place for justice, but justice has its bounds. Make the consequence fit the crime.

Let’s let this election be about the issues and ideas important us, the students. Let’s let the voters decide.