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USG campaign manager: Video about goals and vision ‘not overtly asking to gain votes’

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Screengrab of a video made by Lauren Todd, a fifth-year in English, and Stephen Post, a third-year in economics and political science.

A Facebook post made by a Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidate that talks about the ticket’s broad goals and ambitions for Ohio State, linked to a donation page that will be used for campaign funds, is not improper because it is not overtly asking for votes in the upcoming campaign, the campaign manager said.

The official start date for USG campaigns is Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. A video posted to Facebook Wednesday night by Stephen Post, a third-year in economics and political science, included a link to a website where donations could be made to Post and his running mate, Lauren Todd to support their “mission,” although the post and video never explicitly mentions USG, the presidential campaign, or voting.

“We never said what the campaign is for or anything else,” said campaign manager Matt Barnett, a fourth-year in finance. He did, however, acknowledge to The Lantern that the funds would be used for the ticket’s presidential campaign.

Barnett cited subsection i of the campaigning bylaws which states, “Candidates, candidate teams, and slates may ask, verbally, electronically, or in writing, for assistance in campaigning from individuals or student groups at any time.”

According to the USG bylaws, “Candidates, teams and slates may not overtly act to gain votes, or solicit for votes before the approved campaigning season begins.”

The Facebook post made by Post, who is officially listed as a candidate along with Todd, a fifth-year in English, contains vague goals and language, such as the following:

“We have great strides to make in making a diploma more affordable, campus more inclusive, and providing more opportunities than we’ve been offered. We have a long way to go, but we’re only getting started.”

According to Barnett, listing those goals aren’t the same as soliciting for votes, and are similar to candidates asking for people to sign their petitions to be eligible to run.

“We didn’t say anything asking for votes,” he said. “We are allowed to raise money … We never asked for your vote, we never asked for anything other than your support to help us improve Ohio State, which is not illegal.”

According to an additional subsection within the bylaws, campaign materials, including a website, may be produced prior to the official start date. However, these materials are not to be distributed or publicly available before campaigning begins.

Another presidential ticket, Andrew Jackson and Sophie Chang, were brought to the Judicial Panel in December regarding a violation of the campaign bylaws. The pair had made a private webpage, more explicitly titled than Post and Todd’s fundraiser, called “Vote Andrew and Sophie.”

While the website was proved to be unavailable publicly and only accessible through an original link — unlike Post and Todd’s page — it was deemed as an act to gain votes prematurely based on its title and under the reasoning that, “The link itself has the capability of being shared with any individual,” according to the Dec. 6 brief from the Judicial Panel.

Barnett said he was aware that his campaign’s move would likely be challenged by other campaigns with USG’s Judicial Panel, but he wasn’t worried.

“This isn’t something any other campaign has done before, but we are still completely within the bylaws,” he said.

19 comments

  1. This is despicable. I hope the judiciary board removes them from the campaign. Shameful, shameful, shameful!

    Kudos to the Lantern for the excellent reporting.

    Also, why is a fifth-year running for Vice Presidency for the undergraduate student body? What type of example does that set? We are going to have a sixth year in a major seat of this university.

    It’s a sad day for Ohio State.

    • Personal attacks from the get-go. Classy!

    • A sixth year representing the undergraduate student body would be phenomenal! The Ohio State University is comprised of over 45,000 undergraduate students. Among these are students from all backgrounds. Those who have had the same major during their whole undergraduate careers, those who have changed their major 8 times, those who graduated “early” (less than 4 years), and those who are even on their 7th year. We have students fresh out of high school. Transfers. Those returning to finish a degree left incomplete years ago. And believe it or not, some that are middle-aged and taking college classes for the first time. All from different backgrounds and full of different experiences. All with different goals and different reasons for being where they are today. And that’s what makes The Ohio State University so great. That is part of what makes us buckeyes. Someone running for VP of USG going into their sixth year at OSU, to me, screams passion for this University and I am excites to see what they have planned for this campaign!

  2. I don’t understand what the controversy is. It seems like an exploitation of a lax rule but hardly some crippling violation.

  3. Look at the end of the day they are still trying to cheat past the rules and its not fair for the other campaigns!

  4. They’re clearly desperate for money and attention. This is a Donald Trump-like move by a desperate and horribly qualified team. If the JP doesn’t take action I am going to be INCREDIBLY disappointed. Just because they’re desperate doesn’t mean they should be allowed to break the rules like this.

    • Y'all are delusional

      Stephen Post – Director of Internal Affairs, Senator
      Lauren Todd – USG Inclusion Liaison, Senator

      “Horribly qualified”…………. u mad?

  5. This failed attempt to cover their a** is hilarious. You’ve been caught cheating and now you’re running scared. Students have longer memories than you’d like – we’ll remember your cheating and your games when we go to the polls.

  6. I see Mary’s campaign found out how to comment on the lantern!

  7. It’s embarrassing that this is happening before campaigning even started. How do you expect to win a campaign if you don’t know the rules? Won’t be getting my vote.

  8. This comments section is such a joke. Y’all need hobbies.

  9. USG is a joke anyway!!!

    Idk I feel like people are just butthurt that this campaign thought to do this and the other ones didn’t??? I think people take this USG stuff way too seriously lol

  10. I didn’t know what the lantern was until I read this article. Eerily disappointed to say the least.

  11. As an OSU alumnus, I find this blatant attempt to circumvent the rules wrong in every way. The university should disqualify this candidate. Cheating is not what we are about. If they are allowed to continue, then I ask the students to vote for an honest candidate.

  12. Elections Governance Board

    https://www.facebook.com/stephen.post.3/posts/1436804969665439 Judge for yourself, watch the video and read the bylaws

  13. Matt Barnett is a sneaky joo

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