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The Daily Tar Heel

19 allegations heard at hearing for SBP candidate Maurice Grier

SBP Candidates Maurice Grier, a junior and political science major.
SBP Candidates Maurice Grier, a junior and political science major.

Evidence against student body president candidate Maurice Grier was presented to the UNC Board of Elections on Friday, and a decision about his campaign will be made within 48 hours of the hearing.

Sophomore Will Hopping brought a complaint against Grier on Sunday that alleged his campaign committed 12 technology violations, five false start violations, one location violation and one falsification violation. Hopping said he was not and has not been involved in any student body president campaigns. 

Hopping, with assistance from Harry Edwards, argued the lack of sponsorship messages on some campaign materials and electronic sites for the Grier campaign warranted separate technology violations. 

Grier and his counsel, Chapel Hill attorney Dan Hatley, said Grier's campaign is responsible for the technology violations but the BOE shouldn't count them as separate violations.

In a discussion about a picture of a cardboard heart cutout that the complaint argued lacked a sponsorship message, Grier said there might have been a sponsored message on parts of the cutout not pictured, though Hopping said having the sponsor message not readily visible was problematic.

"All of the materials we used, whether I had them before or they were just used as make-shift campaign materials, have the sponsor on it, in regards to these hearts," Grier said.

The 12th and final technology violation on Hopping's complaint had to do with a Facebook event hosted by the Maurice Grier for Student Body President campaign page that had no sponsor message. Hopping argued because the event was held during a period of no public campaigning and used Grier's "slogan" of the acronym L.O.V.E., this constituted a false start violation as well.

"Hosting a public event on Facebook, inviting more than 500 people, getting the name recognition both through the technology and then actually hosting it in the Pit, this doesn't fall within the definition of private campaigning which is quite strict," Edwards said.

Grier argued he was not campaigning at the event.

"We did not take any pictures and when I say we I mean 'I' did not take any pictures," he said. "I did have music playing, I did not have a petitioning thing, I was not even campaigning. They asked me...I was asked several times 'Oh, Maurice are you not getting signatures today?' and I said, 'No.' I said, 'I'm not here to spread L.O.V.E.'"

The second and third false start claims alleged Grier campaigned at chapter meetings of Sigma Chi and Sigma Phi fraternities. Hatley said these meetings, which occurred before Grier had declared his candidacy, were not to campaign but to learn about the views of those fraternities before Grier embarked on his campaign.

Edwards said "fact finding" shouldn't be precluded from campaigning.

"There are very strict restrictions on what is allowed to take place prior to declaration — no private campaigning whatsoever — and so the stuff about it being a private meeting, I don't think is particularly relevant," Edwards said.

The fourth false start violation, which claimed Grier spoke about his campaign to professor Kelly Hogan's Biology 101 class during the injunction from campaigning, was related to the one location charge, which cites a rule against campaigning in academic buildings. In a letter to student government, Hogan said she had invited Grier to talk about inclusivity and implicit bias.

"(Maurice) did not mention his campaign and I recall specifically discussing that he could not talk about it," Hogan said in the letter.

The last false start charge said comments Grier provided to The Daily Tar Heel constituted campaigning during the injunction period. Edwards said other candidates commented on the article and refrained from talking about their campaigns while Grier failed to. Grier said some of the published quotes were off the record.

The falsification charge also had to do with Grier's comments in the Daily Tar Heel. Edwards said Grier's comments on Nail being responsible for the injunction misrepresented campaign issues, even if they weren't supposed to be printed. 

"This doesn’t have to be publicly, it doesn't have to be a public misrepresentation in order for this to be a misrepresentation of an election issue," Edwards said. "Even if this was an off the record comment made to the Daily Tar Heel reporter, the quote still serves as evidence that this was said to a Daily Tar Heel reporter."

Referring to a recording of a conversation between Grier and BOE Chairperson Paul Kushner, Grier said his statement couldn't be misrepresentation of an election issue because he got his information from Kushner. 

"By stating this, either in private or in public, was not a misrepresentation because it came from the top," Grier said. "So I would like this falsification to be removed from the allegations."

After the hearing, Grier said he was hopeful.

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Hopping said he will most likely go with what the BOE decides.

"I probably would not re-file anything," Hopping said. "I'm not 100 percent sure at this point but I'd have to read, of course, their opinion."