Averell Hit with Election Violations

Following a two-hour meeting last night, the Election Commission, which oversees the Undergraduate Council's presidential elections, fined candidate B.J. Averell '02 17 points for campaign violations--the largest number of penalty points assessed to one campaign in one day yet this year, and equivalent to the number assigned yesterday to all the rest of the candidates combined.

The commission decided that a photo of Averell and his running mate Amias M. Gerety '02 that appeared in Monday's edition of Averell's Crimson comic strip, "The Neil World," constituted inappropriate campaigning.

Other campaigns had also complained about an Opportunes concert this weekend which is being, hosted by Averell and B.J. Novak '02--the stars of last spring's "BJ Show."

"Because this event was planned weeks and weeks ago, and because B.J. was approached by the group, not the other way around, we are allowing the advertising posters," said Kyle D. Hawkins '02, chair of the election commission. "However, B.J. is strongly, strongly advised not to make any allusions to the U.C. in the show."

Hawkins said he and other members of the commission were already intending to attend the concert to hear the Opportunes.

Averell said that, while he regretted the point deductions, the tactics in question represented his overall approach to the campaign.

"When students think of someone who is going out of their way and sometimes even breaks the rules to make Harvard a more fun place, they'll think of B.J. and Amias," he said. "We're thinking outside the box. The Man doesn't like that."

That brings Averell and Gerety's point total for campaign violations to 31, and their total monetary penalty to $61, This means Averell and Gerety can only spend $29 of the $100 allotted inibecause in addition to the dollar-per-point deduction, candidates are penalized $10 for every set of 10 points lost.

Nevertheless, Averell said that he plans on continuing to actively campaign in the coming days--including through a show in the Hasty Pudding Theater tonight called "Vote for Me: The B.J. Averell Story."

Stephen N. Smith '02 and his running-mate James C. Coleman '03 have the second most violations with 11 total deductions, six of which were assigned last night, limiting them to spending $79 on the campaign.

The commission chastised the Smith-Coleman campaign last night for postering near a computer kiosk. Election rules prohibit signs near computers since the council's voting is done online.

The commission also handed down five points of violation penalties against the campaigns of Paul A. Gusmorino '02 and Sujean S. Lee '03 last night for illegal postering, bringing their campaign total to seven points.

Justin A. Barkley '02 and Adam M. Johnson '02 have a total of two points in violations, but none were assigned last night.

The campaign of Matthew Zanotelli '02 and John F. Bash '03 received its first penalty for violations last night, four points for illegal postering.

The violations, which affect the amount a candidate can spend on the campaign, are subtracted from the 50 points each is given at the beginning of the campaign. A candidate who receives 50 points in violations is disqualified.

Faced with heavy possible penalties and the commission's strict interpretation of the $100 spending limit, candidates are being forced to come up with creative ways of getting their message out.

A Barkley campaign volunteer dressed up as a werewolf yesterday outside the Science Center to pass out literature.

Smith is hosting a campaign concert tonight in Loker Commons featuring two student bands and some spoken word poetry.

Also on the campaign trail yesterday, Barkley, Smith and Zanotelli unveiled new rounds of campaign posters which they said were modeled on those of Paul A. Gusmorino '02.

The campaigns previously had only had their names on posters--all now also mention campaign issues in their posters, like Gusmorino's.

Other campaigns complained yesterday that Smith's mention of student groups, including the Coalition of Sexual Violence (CASV), implied an endorsement of his campaign.

"If you mention groups on your posters, it definitely implies that they've endorsed him," said Jeffrey A. Letalien '01, Barkley's campaign manager. "It's unfortunate he's mentioning groups before they've endorsed."

Although Smith is a member of CASV, it has not made an endorsement, according to Jennifer C. Price '03, CASV co-chair. Gusmorino is also a CASV member. Both attend the majority of the group's meetings, Price said.