ASI committee ends ban on candidates speaking with media

Zach Maher/Mustang News

Joi Sullivan, one of the four candidates for ASI president, speaks with Recruitment and Development Committee Chair Cale Reid during Friday’s committee meeting. After receiving criticism from national media, Reid’s committee voted unanimously to end the ban on candidates speaking with media.

Benjy Egel

The Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Recruitment and Development Committee announced Friday morning presidential candidates can now be quoted by media, ending a two-week battle that brought national attention to Cal Poly.

Candidates whose names appeared in printed or online documents with a connection to the election were previously in violation of the active campaigning policy. The new rules unanimously approved by the Recruitment and Development Committee let candidates speak to the media without fear of penalty.

“I think media and communication has such a vital role in today’s society – I’m grappling with it,” Recruitment and Development Committee member Jake Odello said. “Maybe our bylaws or our code are out of date, maybe it’s time we open it up.”

Candidates and their teams are still banned from “perpetuating” news articles about their campaigns prior to 10 days before the election. Perpetuating is defined as sharing articles, commenting on them online or distributing hard copies of the article.

If candidates perpetuate media containing their names, they will be subject to a tiered penalty system. The first offense is a warning, the second is a $100 fine, the third is a $200 fine and the fourth is a $300 fine. A fourth offense also could lead to the Recruitment and Development Committee meeting to discuss recommending the candidates’ disqualification to the Board of Directors.

The committee voted yesterday to retract $100 fines issued to civil engineering junior Connor Paquin and political science senior Joi Sullivan for speaking to Mustang News after declaring their candidacy.

Sullivan attended both Thursday’s and Friday’s meetings, but the three other candidates were absent from both.

The committee unanimously approved the policy shift in a 5-0 vote after struggling for nearly 30 minutes to reach a quorum for their meeting.

While the vote changed campaign rules for the remainder of the 2014 elections, it is not guaranteed to continue into the future. In order to change the rules permanently, the new policy would need to be approved by the full ASI Board of Directors.