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Friday, October 24, 2014

Maass, Catalano issued second major infraction by the BEC

The BEC issued a second major infraction after the terms of the first infraction were violated.

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Cait Campbell/Graphic Designer

The Board of Election Commissioners issued Spencer Maass and Shelby Catalano their second major infraction Tuesday morning.

Maass and Catalano, candidates of one of three Missouri Students Association presidential and vice presidential slates, faced the second infraction after they did not comply with BEC infraction guidelines set forth for their first infraction.

An email, sent from the BEC to the slate regarding the first infraction, specified that the slate had four hours to take down all campaign materials. Their online campaign materials, including their website, were still up after the four-hour grace period ended, which resulted in the second infraction.

Maass said he was in a chapter meeting for his fraternity, Sigma Nu, when the email notifying them to take down their campaign materials was sent.

“It was just a slippery slope of miscommunication,” Maass said. “I tried to notify everyone what was going on, but I was in a chapter meeting. It was a fairly important meeting and I had to be there and be paying attention, not paying attention to emails while I’m sitting in chapter.”

David Wettroth, the slate’s campaign manager, said the BEC was not copying him on the emails sent out so he was unaware of the email in time to take down the slate's campaign materials.

As specified in the BEC Presidential Election Handbook, a second major infraction is typically punished with expulsion from the race. It also specifies that the BEC has the power to offer an alternative punishment in the form of a sanction agreement. For their second infraction, Maass and Catalano were prohibited from campaigning for the rest of the election season.

The BEC deliberated carefully and considered many factors before offering the sanction agreement, BEC Chairman Tyler Ricketts said. The BEC did not find proof of willful disobedience or extreme misconduct, so the slate was not expelled from the race. Ricketts said the BEC took various factors into consideration when making its decision.

"We decided the process was better served by allowing students to have more choice in the election and by giving them the opportunity to make the decision about who they want to represent them,” he said.

Normally, slates have the ability to establish up to five polling locations around campus during the election. Due to the second infraction, the slate will not be allowed to do this, Ricketts said.

“It is definitely a hindrance,” Maass said. “It’s never good when the last week before the election, which is crunch time, that you can’t campaign. I guess we’ll just see how it turns out.”

Although the sanctions will stop them from campaigning, Maass said he is glad he and Catalano were not expelled from the race. He said expulsion would have been excruciatingly unfair for the mistake they made.

Wettroth said he believes students who are excited about the Maass/Catalano slate will take the campaign into their own hands and continue to spread the word on the candidates' behalf.

“We have to hope there are people out there talking about (the campaign),” Wettroth said. “Our stuff was public for a while, so there are fliers people might have printed out. That goes beyond our reach. When people start taking the campaign into their own hands, it can really take it somewhere we never expected.”

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