Societies to be fined if they break election rules

YUSU Student Activities Officer, Rhianna Kinchin, sent an email out to candidates this afternoon detailing a new election rule that will fine any society which endorses a candidate via a society mailing list.

If a society breaks this rule, as occurred yesterday on behalf of Presidential candidate, Matthew Freckleton, and Democracy and Services candidate, Chris Etheridge, then they will be fined £50.

This new rule is to take effect after 5pm today, meaning that all previous societies who have broken this rule will not be fined.

Academic candidate, Jason Rose, and YorkSport candidate, Rob Newton, are to be subjected to a 24-hour ban after committing a second offence. Freckleton and Etheridge are banned from campaigning between 10am and 4pm tomorrow.

Holly Burton, Derwent Chair, has also asked that the candidates do not campaign at this evening’s JCR meeting, and has said that they will not be welcome.

64 comments

  1. Does that mean if I send out an email promoting a candidate, that candidate will get fined?

    Seems like a good idea.

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  2. 9 Mar ’10 at 7:06 pm

    Chris Etheridge

    I do hope that the election rules are reviewed by whoever is in charge next year. So many candidates including myself have been subjected to bans after people who aren’t campaigners have sent out emails and suchlike. It is annoying for all candidates who are unable to do anything about it.

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  3. Sorry Nouse but what Rhianna actually said was:

    “Further to my email to all societies yesterday outlining YUSU Election rules (below), and following discussions today with the Returning Officer, from 17:00 today YUSU societies that send emails down their society mailing lists endorsing specific YUSU election candidates will be fined £50.”

    This reads that SOCIETIES will be fined £50 not candidates.

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  4. 9 Mar ’10 at 7:41 pm

    matt bailey fan

    good spot matt…. this is exactly what we need from a potential sabb!

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  5. 9 Mar ’10 at 7:46 pm

    Laura Connor

    Sorry about that Matt… I have now changed it. Thanks for pointing it out

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  6. Why is campaigning at JCR meetings ‘not welcome’? Do JCRs no longer want to grill the candidates to make sure they will support their cause?

    Sad times.

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  7. Just like to point out that neither Rob nor I ‘committed the second offence’ – someone that is not at all linked to our campaigns sent a facebook message to their friends and apparently this now constitutes a 24 hour ban and will possibly cost the election. We didn’t do anything wrong but someone who supports us did – worth clarifying that point.

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  8. 9 Mar ’10 at 9:24 pm

    Another College Fan

    VERY sad times indeed. Will other colleges follow suit, I wonder.

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  9. 9 Mar ’10 at 9:35 pm

    Daniel Linderman

    I can’t believe Chris Etheridge has commented on a Nouse piece! Where has Tsar Peter “I pull the strings” Campbell gone to?!

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  10. 9 Mar ’10 at 9:43 pm

    Making things worse

    What about societies with public mailing lists that anyone can send to? This now just means that people can ruin a society’s budget as well as a candidate’s campaign. This really hasn’t been thought out properly and seems to be a case of ‘A problem exists, therefore we must do something. We don’t care if the solution works, we just need one’.

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  11. last year Tom Scott wrote a short piece for vision which can be seen here;

    http://www.yorkvision.co.uk/archives/issue-196

    on page 5, titled ‘RULES HAVE SCOTT TO CHANGE’

    In which he says the rules need to be looked and changed to take into account facebook and mass messaging etc…

    Why has this not been done, maybe if YUSU had done their job and looked into this matter then this might have been avoided. It’s seem like the majority of candidates have been banned at some point or another during this election.

    And why have chris and matt been banned for 6 hours while robert (o) and levene were only banned for 2 hours today for a similar wrong doing earlier one.

    It’s just rubish… very bad form yusu, pick up your ideas!

    and you wonder why some people don’t vote.

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  12. In fairness to Holly, Candidates were not welcome tonight because it was a JCRC Open meeting, where all Derwent students could attend and question Committee members and discuss constitutional changes – a much longer meeting than normal.

    I do agree it would have been nice if they were allowed to come though!

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  13. 9 Mar ’10 at 9:53 pm

    General Alexander

    An Open Meeting is surely even more of a reason to invite candidates!

    This decision is poor, lacks foresight and leadership and I hope other JCRCs don’t follow suit.

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  14. 9 Mar ’10 at 10:15 pm

    Member of Derwent JCR

    As Derwenter said today was a JCR Opening Meeting, making it unfeasible for candidates to come.

    More importantly however, many candidates came to our last meeting where we were able to “grill” them. They can’t have any complaints considering they had a chance.

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  15. I agree that this is getting a little bit ridiculous, but what other option actually is there? letting people use society mailing lists isn’t really an option so, I’m not really sure there is any other solution…

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  16. As someone who will have to work with the upcoming YUSU team, it’s poor show for Holly not to let candidates meet her JCRC and vice versa.

    Bit of an error on Holly’s part – she isn’t doing her JCRC or derwent any favours on being so unwelcoming herself.

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  17. What if one of the Wentworth teams, which are not funded by YUSU, was to find its email list used to promote/denounce a candidate?

    Just out of interest really as very few graduates would bother to vote anyway.

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  18. In response to why the bans at this stage are so harsh – most mailing list-mass e-mail abuses have reached 50-200 people. This time, over 600 people were contacted which if even half of those people voted for the suggested candidates, would win those candidates the election.

    It is also very late in the day – quite understandably penalties for breaking election rules (especially this one) are harsher once voting has opened.

    Think of it this way – a mass e-mail saying “vote for x” in the second week is almost as bad as campaigning in the ballot box.

    As a reaction to those who think these punishments are unfair – they’re not punishments. They are simply a way of allowing other candidates to “catch up” once someone has had a breach of campaign rules used to their advantage.

    At this stage, I don’t think there is anything the affected candidates can do to catch up with 600 potential votes. Feel sorry for them =(

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  19. 9 Mar ’10 at 10:57 pm

    matt bailey fan

    I don’t think holly burton should be getting stick. Candidates have had a whole week before to visit JCRC’s and a lot have already visited derwent. I think she has made a mature decision, which shows good leadership. Is it really in the interest of derwent to have a open meeting clogged up by candidates selling themselves. The answer is no, an open meeting is a chance for college students to grill their JCRC’s and make changes, not a time to be harassed by candidates.

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  20. In the case of the vegetarian society, we are talking about a mailing list of about 50-60 people in total, half of whom must have already graduated. The rest could probably not care less about what the society’s chair has to say about student politics anyway.

    I know that because for some reason I am on their mailing list for the last four years, even though I eat nothing other than meat.

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  21. My point being that the penalties are completely disproportionate..

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  22. And everyone needs to massively ease up on Holly. She let candidates go last week and she had an open meeting this week to discuss JCRC issues with her college. The whole campus is not obliged to stop what they are doing just because some people want a chance to promote themselves.

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  23. So, societies get a £50 fine for interfering.

    What fine for YUSU Officers who unjustly attack worthy candidates and fail to show impartiality in the elections…

    Comment edited by a moderator

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  24. 10 Mar ’10 at 1:45 am

    And it's Surely to their Credit....

    Oh, so Rhianna sent this email out.

    Is she now something to do with the elections officially? I thought she was focussing on candidates to try and cover up her year in office.

    Comment edited by a moderator

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  25. What’s to stop an individual using the http://www.york.ac.uk/directory and getting everyone’s email address and sending a mass email out that way?

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  26. It seems far too late in what is now not just campaign week, but voting to be adjusting these rules. Given how many candidates have been suspended for actions beyond their control, this seems like the biggest concern to be addressed before next year’s elections.

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  27. 10 Mar ’10 at 2:53 am

    Chris Etheridge

    Daniel, I choose not to comment on Nouse often because I do not wish to spend hours endlessly debating issues online.

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  28. £50 seems a bit silly. Why not make it proportional to membership size? A three member society would go bankrupt, whereas a group like the CU could actually decide that it was worth the money to send out mass emails…

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  29. Agree with you AA about the proportional fine. The CU’s line is one of impartiality and I’d have thought they have better things to spend £50 on – like toasties or Easter Eggs!

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  30. @AA

    The CU wouldn’t get fined anyway because they are not a ratified YUSU Society.

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  31. @AA – the CU isn’t YUSU affiliated so they can do what they want

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  32. Also, the CU announced on Saturday that they would encourage their members to vote, but strictly would not endorse any candidates. The message in question here was sent out from a student who happens to be a member of CU, and was not from anyone even on CU Committee, so to say that it was ‘from CU’ is just deceptive!

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  33. It seems to me that anybody claiming to be a Christian who in turn abuses the mailing list in order to gain an upper hand in an election DESPITE knowing what the rules are on the matter of blanket canvasing complete strangers is not a particularly good Christian at all. Backhanded and conniving are not words that Christians generally want to be associated with. Who was this deviant character? I didn’t get any mail, but then i’m not on the official CU mailing list…

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  34. How about getting rid of CU completely?

    Comment edited by a moderator

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  35. 10 Mar ’10 at 4:21 pm

    (Vote Party Duck!)

    Lets clear this up shall we?

    As someone who received one of the mass facebook messages, and a very close friend of the person who sent them I can say now that he/she had absolutely no idea what they were doing was wrong. The message simply suggested that you “consider voting for” a list of candidates and their positions (no links or even reasons why were included) and was followed by (I quote) ” Please do it if you are neutral or undecided. However, you’re wanting to vote for someone else, then that’s gravy baby :) ”

    The person responsible has since apologised to all who were endorsed in the message and is now feeling extremely guilty for potentially damaging the chances of several candidates. He/she would certainly have never sent the messages had they know that it was against the rules.

    The messages were sent out from the persons’ own facebook account (not via a CU, or any other mailing list) and were sent to people who are not members of the CU as well. This person does not have access to the CU mailing list, is not an admin on the CU facebook group and sent the messages without suggestion from the CU committee or any other member of the CU, or the candidates who were endorsed.

    By the way, at the main CU meeting on Saturday (to which I was present) no candidate names were mentioned, only that people should take the time to vote in the elections. Although several candidates were present that evening, no mass campaigning, or even flier-handing-out was done.

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  36. 10 Mar ’10 at 5:24 pm

    Consideration not withstanding

    If they’ve done nothing wrong then there should be no problem knowing who it was. I for one would like to know so I can give the other candidates an equal opportunity by suggesting to my friends that they ‘consider’ them too.

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  37. The situation is ridiculous – and it wasn’t the CU doing anything (unlike the football/rugby/VegSoc situations). They expressly told people that they weren’t allowed to campaign and nobody handed out a single election flyer at any of the college or main CUs. It was one individual out of the 200 members of CU sending out private messages to a few (but not most) of their facebook friends and that’s the limit of it!

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  38. Jason, this went out to over 600 people. I don’t call that “a few”.

    No-one is seriously blaming the CU and no-one is seriously saying it is your fault, but the fact still stands that you, Matt F, Rob and Chris got recommended to a huge number of people in a mass e-mail.

    Quite frankly, that’s a pretty catastrophic blow for all the other candidates – if even half of those people decide to vote, that could be the election won or lost.

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  39. 11 Mar ’10 at 4:08 pm

    Anyone for Nouse?

    To “And it’s Surely to their Credit” (March 10, 2010 at 1:45 am)

    Aren’t you missing the point? Rhianna only sent the email because it was a society problem and also becaue she is the only one with access to that mailing list.
    Also why haven’t you mentioned that Emily Scott sent the same message to the sports clubs mailing lists? Stop being selctive with your facts.
    Seems like you’re just having a go at Rhianna for no reason; your comments seem a bit immature, even petty tbh; from everything I’ve seen and heard she’s done a decent job not helped by comments like yours

    Is she now something to do with the elections officially? I thought she was focussing on candidates to try and cover up her year in office.

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  40. 11 Mar ’10 at 4:10 pm

    Anyone for Nouse?

    that last para is from the post i’m replying to and forgot to delete after copy and pasting!

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  41. 11 Mar ’10 at 4:30 pm

    Concerned Voter

    Seems strange that Sam Daniels can use his current position to get away with sending this to hundreds of people then…

    “Hi all,

    You all attended events run by YUSU.

    Now is the time to have your say about what can be improved…. and it’s all about YOU.

    Last week, as the current YUSU Ents Officer, I submitted a motion in the UGM (Union General Meeting) calling for a campus wide entertainments review.

    It has the intention of forming an student-led ents strategy for the next three years, with the aim of making campus entertainment better, more varied, and more inclusive.

    You can view it here…

    http://www.yusu.org/democracy/voting

    ‘Entertainments Review’

    Please make sure you vote!

    On another note, please make sure you also vote in the YUSU Elections. You can find out about the candidates at the website below, and then submit your vote.

    http://www.YUSU.org/vote

    Thanks!

    Sam Daniels
    YUSU Ents Officer”

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  42. doesn’t seem like hes breaking any rules.

    so just because hes running for a position he has to completely ignore his responsibilities as an ent?

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  43. 11 Mar ’10 at 4:42 pm

    And it's Surely to their Credit....

    @Anyone For Nouse:

    “Aren’t you missing the point? Rhianna only sent the email because it was a society problem and also becaue she is the only one with access to that mailing list.”

    No she doesn’t. That’s not how University, or Union, mailing lists work.

    “Also why haven’t you mentioned that Emily Scott sent the same message to the sports clubs mailing lists? Stop being selctive with your facts.”

    I’m not involved in a Sports Club, so didn’t get an email from Emily. The same point applies to her in that case – it should have come from the Returning Officer, not someone who has been campaigning for candidates.

    “Seems like you’re just having a go at Rhianna for no reason; your comments seem a bit immature, even petty tbh; from everything I’ve seen and heard she’s done a decent job not helped by comments like yours”

    I’m pointing out that Rhianna has acted incredibly unprofessionally during the election process: as evidenced by her inaccurate/biased comments in Vision this week, and by her trying to leak a story to Nouse in order to stop them from following up a story on her.

    As for her doing a decent job – well, thats a matter of opinion. I’ve been involved in working with her on a pretty big task this year, and she’s been an utter disaster. But that’s your opinion, and you’ll be able to vote “no” on a motion of censure that is apparently coming at the next UGM then, won’t you.

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  44. It doesn’t look like he’s broken any rules…. as ents isnt he supposed to be doing stuff like this? …i.e. helping improve events.
    Asking people to vote on the ents motion in UGM is sensible.

    … and whilst voting, vote in the elections. No specific candidates are mentioned…. pas du probleme?

    Josh Lyman & Donna

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  45. 11 Mar ’10 at 6:46 pm

    Who's fault is it?

    Re: Concerned Voter

    In a way this highlights the main problem: The student population which is not closely involved with the elections doesn’t know what is and isn’t allowable.

    You can’t blame the candidates, as they didn’t ask for mass emails to be sent. You can’t blame the senders of the emails, as they didn’t know that they were breaking the rules.

    So all that’s left to blame is YUSU for not making sure everyone was aware of the rules. Difficult to justify that it’s YUSU’s fault though if not all students are interested in the elections. Despite all that YUSU can try and do to reduce student apathy, it comes down to individual students being interested.

    Since blame can’t be placed on anyone, that suggests a rewrite of the rules…

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  46. rhianna’s rant on vision was ridiculously biased, she should be severely punished for trying to sway voters like that

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  47. 11 Mar ’10 at 7:23 pm

    Chris Etheridge

    I have no problem with anything Sam has done. It’s his job as ents officer to keep relevant people informed in the same way that both Jason and myself should do for campaigns related issues. :)

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  48. Yeah, I’m not entirely sure that there’s a problem either – and Chris is one of the people running against Sam so probably has a more valid opinion on it than the rest of us.

    On another note, it wasn’t sent out “to over 600 people” – that’s just not true.

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  49. @And it’s Surely to their Credit…
    if you try to email the [email protected] mailing list it’s blocked to everyone. actually rhianna is the only one that can do it

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  50. 12 Mar ’10 at 10:29 am

    And it's Surely to their Credit....

    @ Observer

    Again, thats *not* how the mailing lists work! For example, we’ve all had emails from [email protected] about voting. All it takes is the IT person to put certain rights on the email address/account.

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  51. 12 Mar ’10 at 11:34 am

    Anyone for Nouse?

    granted, but currently those rights *aren’t* on that email address/account, and the “IT person” hasn’t been asked to do this

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  52. 12 Mar ’10 at 12:38 pm

    And it's surely to their credit

    @ anyone for nouse

    To know that for certain you must be a current officer or staff member…. But it takes literally minutes to do! Either way, it’s a failure, and Rhianna should have said she wasn’t comfortable sending the email out, as she’d already established herself as a campaigner and not anything to do with the running of the elections.

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  53. @And It’s Surely to their Credit

    And for you to know what you seem to, you’d have to:

    1. Be pretty close to YUSU and know its inner-workings,
    2. Dislike Rhianna for pretty stupid reasons such as the way she rightly slated a certain candidate on some of his poor policies,
    4. Be a pretty petty and spiteful individual on the whole,
    5. Be planning a motion of censure,

    Nobby.

    Comment edited by a moderator

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  54. I agree, I’m really surprised there hasn’t been more reaction to her unprofessional comments in Vision.

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  55. 12 Mar ’10 at 4:44 pm

    And it's Surely to their Credit....

    Or perhaps it’s more to do with the complete lack of progress on the issue of Kids Camp? And more specifically, that because of this, it’s not running as a residential project at Easter, despite her promising this time last year to protect it?

    By the by, can you count?:

    (1) You don’t have to know anything about YUSU to understand how university mailing systems work.
    (2) Please see above for an answer to this.
    (3)
    (4) I like to think of myself as hansom rather than pretty.
    (5) Please infer from above.

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  56. “Dislike Rhianna for pretty stupid reasons such as the way she rightly slated a certain candidate on some of his poor policies”

    I don’t think thats the issue here – if people think that Nick’s policies were poor, then that’s up to personal opinion. I think it’s the fact Rhianna called them deceitful and raised problems with them that don’t exist. She claimed to have done one policy, whereas actual his suggestion was to build on that, and also her comments regarding Kids Camp being safe are confusing as there is no Camp this Easter. Also whether or not she should’ve spoken to the media in such a manner is questionable.

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  57. 12 Mar ’10 at 4:51 pm

    And it's Surely to their Credit....

    Also, I’m not sure how points 2-5 are related to knowing how mailing lists work… But maybe I’m not as computer savvy as I thought…!

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  58. And it’s Surely to their Credit…. You seem to hold a personal dislike for Rhianna, I wonder whether this is retaliation because her comments about Scarlett’s policies were more accurate than you wanted to be revealed. I am glad she spoke up, why don’t more yusu people do it? I wouldn’t have looked at their policies otherwise.

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  59. “You seem to hold a personal dislike for Rhianna, I wonder whether this is retaliation because her comments about Scarlett’s policies were more accurate than you wanted to be revealed.”

    i for one have nothing against rhianna (i don’t even know her). her comments though were completely out of order. yusu officers should NOT speak against candidates during elections! if she wanted to defend herself, she could have waited until the elections were over.

    what she did was completely unprofessional and she deserves to be censured.

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  60. 12 Mar ’10 at 7:31 pm

    And it's Surely to their Credit....

    Although I agree with voter – that’s not my issue.

    In her piece she criticized Scarlett’s policy to save Kids Camp, claiming it wasn’t all ‘black and white’. Indeed in the original piece online, she claimed “it had been saved”. Why then, is there is no residential Kids Camp at Easter, and no plans in place to run one in the summer. This is a project that has been running for over 40 years, and is something York students should fight to keep.

    Have a look at Rhianna’s manifesto – indeed she considered it so important that she even included it in her manifesto speech (it’s still online on YSTV). Given this reality, it’s even more disgusting that she criticise a candidate running, in the large part, to rectify this situation.

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  61. 12 Mar ’10 at 10:26 pm

    badger hunter

    Nouse should set a precedent and stop accepting comments unless they have real names on them. Either that or only accept york mail addresses, which would serve the same purpose. It’s got to the stage where someone can cause as much trouble and be as malicious as they like and not have to answer for it.

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  62. 12 Mar ’10 at 11:54 pm

    Another student...

    @And it’s surely to their credit…

    What original piece online? The print and web versions both read the same thing about Kids Camp, don’t they?

    And anyway, I thought Kids’ Camp was safe just might not be necessarily in the same format we’re all used to.

    Rhianna sent out the email perhaps because she is the obvious point of contact for students. We don’t know the exact details of it, and with Lewis having only just recently got back she could have been helping him out (though I’m only speculating) by sorting it out for him. Heck, she’s not the returning officer but she’s still in charge of societies. It makes plenty of sense.

    All Rhianna did was speak up over what she seems to have seen as misleading. Can’t blame her for that, really, and there’s no rules stopping her commenting. Emily Scott has had a Vote Sam Daniels banner up for two weeks on her facebook, and now has a list of the candidates she voted for, but nobody has commented on that.

    Students don’t need to censure someone who has acted completely rightly. No matter what is ethically or morally correct, she hasn’t broken any rules. It sounds like Tim and Ben’s motions of censure are gonna be the precedent for trying to censure every sabb. Just another bandwagon to jump on?

    Also, if you’re so opinionated, AISTTC, why don’t you identify yourself? At the moment this sounds like a certain candidate desperately trying to defend himself…

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  63. Clarification: AISTTC does not appear to be a candidate, going by email address submitted.

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