Hope and Change coalition disqualified

Hope+and+Change+coalition+member%2C+Jaiyi+%22Jessica%22+Tao%2C+persuading+a+student+to+vote+for+her+coalition+while+crossing+the+10.9+bylaw.+This+photo+was+presented+to+the+election+committee+on+Oct.+10+by+Sharita+Snagg.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Sharita+Snagg%29

Hope and Change coalition member, Jaiyi "Jessica" Tao, persuading a student to vote for her coalition while crossing the 10.9 bylaw. This photo was presented to the election committee on Oct. 10 by Sharita Snagg. (Photo courtesy of Sharita Snagg)

Ethan Anderson and Emma Hall

Found guilty in the midst of the recent Associated Student of DVC elections, the Hope and Change coalition was disqualified on Weds, Oct. 10.

ASDVC voted unanimously for the coalition’s disqualification after they were found guilty of violating the Association of Students’ bylaw, 10.9. The bylaw states that a candidate is not allowed to campaign within 50 feet of a polling station. The evidence was submitted in an official complaint by Sharitta Snagg, one of the presidential nominees.

The evidence submitted was a photo in which Hope and Change member, Jaiyi “Jessica” Tao can be seen pointing out of the cafeteria to a student where the voting was taking place. In the student’s hand was a flyer given by Tao, advertising the Hope and Change coalition. As the evidence was examined by the elections committee, they finally concluded that Tao was crossing the fifty foot boundary, creating another elections process to have a coalition found guilty.  

“What happened to us is that there was supposed to be a blue line to show the limit from the polling station outside the cafeteria,” said presidential runner up, and head of the Hope and Change coalition Shiyuang “Isaac” Zhang in a text interview.  “But we don’t know the blue tape was torn off that day and we can only see the blue tape inside the cafeteria, so our coalition member went to campaign near the cafeteria when there was no blue line to tell us where exactly 50 feet is.”

Hope and Change members, Zhang and Dong had appeared at the meeting to clarify the situation. Originally there was blue tape placed to show candidates where they could not campaign, however the tape was unknowingly removed on Monday, Oct. 8. Because of this, the Hope and Change coalition argued that they did not know they were violating a bylaw.

Due to the Hope and Change coalition’s disqualification, the positions of Activities Coordinator and Diversity Affairs Officer are empty to Fiona Dong and Dandan “Danielle” Xia, who ran unopposed. According to Peter Swenson, an election committee board member, these positions will hold their own election in the future.

While Zhang is claiming that is coalition did not know their actions were violating the 10.9 bylaw, all campaigners were briefed on campaigning codes prior to elections week, according to Peter Swenson, a board member in the elections committee.

Zhang also stated that he had photo evidence that Snagg had violated the 10.9 bylaw. Snagg defended herself from this statement.

“I was going into the cafeteria with a friend of mine,” said Snagg. “I’m not holding any campaign material in that photo either.”

Snagg explained how she actually encouraged the Hope and Change coalition to come forward with the photo if they had issues with her campaigning. Despite this, the Hope and Change coalition never filed a complaint.

Throughout the recording, Todd Farr, the advisor of ASDVC, kept urging the board to make a decision after the election board extended the meeting by forty-five minutes.

“I’ve heard a lot of the same conversation go on and on and on,” said Farr during the meeting to the election board. “We’re going in circles and the bottom line is that the evidence has been presented.”

Eventually, after a heated argument amongst candidates and board members, the election committee called for a recess. Then everyone regrouped and the election committee came to a consensus to disqualify the coalition.

“We are healing as an organization,” said Timotius Vincent, the newly elected ASDVC president. “However, this situation was handled way better than last year.”

Despite the disqualification causing controversy in ASDVC, the voter turnout was very low with only 391 votes on the Pleasant Hill campus and 35 votes on the San Ramon campus. According to Farr, every vote was certified by the League of Women Voters.

The next ASDVC meeting with the newly elected ASDVC board will be on Oct. 16 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Every meeting is open to the public and student body to observe and comment.