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Voith-Gadgil Staffer Encouraged Grimeland and Hadfield To Drop Out of UC Race

Gadgil says she and Voith were not aware of e-mail

By Katharine A. Kaplan, Crimson Staff Writer

A campaign staffer for John F. Voith ’07 approached a staffer for Magnus Grimeland ’07 last week, suggesting Grimeland drop out of the race for Undergraduate Council (UC) president and “join forces” against John S. Haddock ’07.

“I talked to Voith and [running-mate] Tara [Gadgil ’07], and they would literally LOVE to have him on board with us,” an e-mail from the Voith staffer said, advocating that Grimeland exit the race in exchange for favors from Voith and Gadgil.

In the e-mail, sent Thursday afternoon to Grimeland campaign member Wojtek P. Kaszynski ’07 and obtained last night by The Crimson, the Voith staffer promises that Voith and Gadgil would reimburse Grimeland and his running-mate Thomas D. Hadfield ’08 for their campaign expenses, ensure that Grimeland be reinstated on the UC after a temporary expulsion, and “make Magnus and Tom prominent voices in the UC, and promote everything that Magnus and Tom would propose if they get elected.”

But UC candidates may only spend up to $400 on the campaign and are reimbursed for all expenses by the UC, Grimeland was reinstated at a meeting Friday night, and none of the UC’s executive board positions are appointed by the UC leadership.

And while the e-mail promises Voith and Gadgil’s support for “everything Magnus and Tom would propose,” the Grimeland-Hadfield ticket differs significantly from the Voith-Gadgil ticket, with Grimeland focusing primarily on ambitious proposals to increase funding for student needs through a student-run investment fund and an endowment for student groups.

“I think this would be great for all of us, given that Magnus and Voith have similar supporters, and we all know each other,” the e-mail said.

Gadgil said she and Voith were not aware of the e-mail before it was sent and did not endorse its contents.

“Both John Voith and myself have a lot of respect for the campaign that Magnus and Tom have run and the dialogue that an additional ticket has created,” Gadgil said. “I had no knowledge that that e-mail was going to be sent.”

The authenticity of the e-mail, provided to The Crimson on the condition that its author remain anonymous, was confirmed by Kaszynski last night.

The e-mail proposed “an informal meeting over the weekend, like, lunch in some nice restaurant.”

“[Let's] just chill out and talk about it,” the e-mail said. “We’ll pay for it, too, biatch.”

Grimeland said that he was not considering dropping out of the race and saw the e-mail proposal as a reflection of the strength of his campaign.

“We were really a little disappointed about it—it’s basically trying to buy us out of the race and additionally trying to use some powers that they don’t really have,” Grimeland said. “I think it’s a response to them getting afraid we were getting a lot of votes from them and gaining a lot of momentum.”

Grimeland was expelled from the UC after unexcused absences but was unanimously reinstated Friday night after meeting with the Executive Board, which includes the UC’s president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and committee chairs, two of which are Voith and Gadgil.

Gadgil said that she and Voith first learned of the e-mail at that meeting.

UC president Matthew J. Glazer, who was present at the Friday meeting, confirmed that Grimeland brought up the e-mail at that time.

“I encouraged both campaigns to work out this problem between them,” Glazer said. “As far as I understand, the two campaigns worked it out.”

The e-mail marks a second instance in which a member of the Voith-Gadgil campaign staff has taken an action of which the candidates have disavowed knowledge.

About two weeks ago, a member of the Voith-Gadgil campaign registered the domain name www.haddockriley.com. At that time, Voith said that he did not know about the registration before he was contacted by The Crimson.

Voith could not be reached for comment for this article.

Gadgil said that the rules of the election had been outlined to her ticket’s campaign staff.

“I think that we have been disappointed in the select decisions of a few people in our campaign and we have laid down to them that such actions are inappropriate in an election in which we aim to be as positive and fair as possible,” Gadgil said.

—Staff writer Katharine A. Kaplan can be reached at kkaplan@fas.harvard.edu.

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