The Board of Elections issued its first fine of the election season Tuesday against student body president candidate Rick Ingram for dorm-storming before the practice was allowed.
Ingram was fined $12.50, a total that represents 5 percent of the campaign spending limit.
The junior said he thinks the fine is a minor punishment.
“I see it as a slap on the wrist,” Ingram said. “I didn’t think that we had done anything wrong. They obviously didn’t think it was too egregious either.”
Andrew Phillips, chairman of the board, said the board looked at how campaign violations were handled in past elections.
“Our idea was to make the fine fair,” Phillips said.
Dorm-storming is a strategy that allows candidates to canvas door-to-door in residence halls during the evening hours.
Phillips said candidates were told dorm-storming would not be allowed until Jan. 19.
Following the mandatory candidates’ meeting Jan. 18, Phillips received complaints that Ingram and his staff were dorm-storming in violation of election rules.
Phillips said complaints were filed by former candidate Joey Guy, members from other campaign staffs and other students who were aware of the rules or somehow connected to those who attended the candidate meetings.
Phillips said the complaints cited dorm-storming that took place at residence halls ranging from Hinton James Residence Hall on South Campus to Cobb Residence Hall on North Campus.
“Once we determined that this was not an isolated incident we went ahead and called to initiate an investigation,” Phillips said.
Phillips said the board contacted all of the candidates to ensure they understood dorm-storming could not take place until Jan. 19.
He added that Ingram claimed he and his staff did not hear representatives of the board say when dorm-storming would be legal.
“After reviewing, we determined that not hearing us say it was not a good enough excuse,” Phillips said.
“After determining that, we could not let him off the hook.”
Candidate Mary Cooper said she thought it was a fair decision.
“We were all informed that it was not something we could do on the 18th,” Cooper said.
Candidate Ian Lee, who has also been the target of complaints, agreed that the board can be trusted to make the right decision.
“I have full faith in Andrew Phillips and the board to uphold the law and have clean and fair elections,” Lee said.
Candidate Brooklyn Stephens said she did not feel the decision came soon enough.
“I feel like it should have been addressed prior to now,” Stephens said. “I think it should have been toward signatures, not necessarily a fine.”
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