Charges dropped against Movement candidate over campaign video

Monday, March 20, 2017 - 11:07pm

LSA junior Evan Rosen, a University of Michigan Central Student Government presidential candidate running with the Movement party, was at The Michigan Daily’s debate for only a moment before he left to attend a hearing to address two formal complaints filed by the eMerge party to the University Elections Commission.

Last Thursday, the Movement party released its campaign video, which instantly sparked controversy online. Students commenting on their Facebook post expressed their distaste for the video, and criticized the party.

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On Saturday, the eMerge party filed two complaints, which were formally called UEC 2017 W-20 eMerge vs. Rosen and UEC 2017 W-21 eMerge vs. Movement party. In an email to The Michigan Daily, eMerge addressed the situation.

“Based on the video released by the Movement, eMerge believed that there was an unauthorized endorsement that would significantly affect the outcome of the election because it violated the election code,” LSA junior Cassie Fields, eMerge Communications director, wrote. “Movement believed the claim filed to be frivolous.”

After the filing of a complaint to the UEC, there is a 48-hour period during which a hearing is to take place. In the case of W-20 and W-21, both parties decided to waive this period. The hearing was scheduled for Monday evening, the same night as the Michigan Daily's debate, and, according to Rosen, CSG would not allow for a rescheduling.

“We would’ve had to have the hearing earlier,” Rosen said. “But because of everything going on over the weekend, we waved the 48-hour period, and CSG scheduled it during the debate today, and we requested to change it and they didn’t move it.”

The parties met for arbitration before the hearing. Movement’s legal team aimed to have the complaints settled, instead of it being taken to the CSG Court. The hearing, which lasted less than five minutes, ended with the eMerge party formally dropping its two complaints, and the Movement party dropping its counterclaims.  

According to Rosen, if Movement had ended up losing the cases, it would have resulted in its executive ticket losing 12 percent of their total votes. Rosen stood by his decision to attend the hearing and expressed why he felt it was necessary for him to go.

“The election deserves to be figured out by the students,” Rosen said. “And not by the courts in here. This would have a significant sway in the outcome of the debate and I don’t think that’s fair for the students.”

CSG elections for 2017-2018 academic year will take place from March 22 to 23.