Voting in the Undergraduate Council elections begins today, but one of the presidential candidates, Aaron S. Byrd ’05, will not be making any more runs to Kinko’s to photocopy posters and handouts frantically.
Due to penalties assessed to his campaign for violations of a council rule that candidates may not campaign in classrooms, Byrd cannot spend any more money and must take down $17 worth of his posters and other promotional materials, the election commission announced on Friday.
The violations may seriously endanger Byrd’s bid for the presidency.
A member of Byrd’s campaign staff, Trent J. Hudson ’05, entered the classrooms of Economics 1123, Physics 11a and Chemistry 160 last week while dressed in a feathered bird costume and carrying posters advertising his campaign.
Byrd is being penalized for disruptive campaigning in classrooms and a computer lab.
Election rules state that candidates cannot “campaign anywhere inside or within thirty-five feet of the entrance to a classroom, nor may they impede access to any classroom building.”
“I think if we allowed all candidates to campaign in classrooms it would be somewhat disruptive of the educational life of the community, election commission chair David I. Monteiro ’04 said. “The College does not want classes to be disturbed by the campaigns.”
Monteiro received at least four complaints from students on Wednesday about Byrd’s classroom campaigning.
Byrd blamed the violation of election rules on a lack of structure and communication in his campaign.
“It all happened because we really have no campaign organization. Mike and Matt have an 80-person staff. Since there is no campaign structure, we can’t keep track of everyone,” he said.
Byrd said he was aware that candidates are not allowed to campaign in classrooms and that he wasn’t aware that any member of his staff planned to enter a classroom.
“I didn’t know about it before it happened,” he said.
But Byrd said he doesn’t think the penalties will hurt the rest of his campaign.
“It’s really grassroots kind of stuff. We are going to start going and meeting people more,” Byrd said.
With the penalties, Byrd is $17 over the $100 that candidates are allotted for campaign expenditures and was ordered to remove $17 worth of his campaign material.