The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday February 26th

Students can judge Ingram: Conduct troubling but is not cause for disqualification

Today, the Board of Elections could end Rick Ingram’s campaign for student body president — a night before his name is to appear on the ballot. They shouldn’t.

But that doesn’t mean Ingram can’t face consequences for his antics. If students are as disappointed as we are with the conduct of Ingram’s campaign, they shouldn’t elect him.

During this election, good ideas were overshadowed by juvenile behavior and dubious decisions.

On Friday, the Board of Elections called for a hearing tonight to discuss disqualifying Ingram.

The accusations against Ingram include sending verbally abusive text messages to Ian Lee and intimidating other campaigns’ staff. Billy Kluttz, an Ingram campaign manager, is accused of verbal abuse and illegal petitioning in classrooms.

Ingram mostly denies these accusations but admitted his campaign struck the wrong chord early on. We agree.

“I understand that I have not run necessarily the ideal campaign,” he said, but maintains his campaign has rectified that. If it has, it’s not entirely clear.

Ingram attributes the disproportionate number of complaints against Kluttz to his visibility as a zealous campaign manager. But we’re not convinced this accounts for Kluttz’s outsize mention in the accusations.

One area in which we agree with Ingram is that much of the evidence is hearsay. “He-said-she-said” is hardly the kind of evidence that should determine disqualification. And even if the allegations are true, one is hard-pressed to confidently call them “malicious,” as the Student Code stipulates.

Even Lee and Mary Cooper were wary of saying outright that Ingram should be disqualified. Cooper said the BOE was her only recourse, and that it’s up to the board to decide what punishment is just. The zeal for disqualification feels lukewarm.

This has been a shameful campaign season. We can’t think of a time when there was less regard for the code.

But it is the right of voters to decide whether such conduct makes Ingram unfit for office. The BOE must allow Tuesday’s election to reflect this.

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