A breach of OUSU election rules has led Jake Leeper’s slate to lose 10% of its publicity budget.
The punishment amounted to a fine of £21.
The ruling follows an incident when four messages were sent out to members of the facebook group of Nishma Doshi, a candidate standing for the position of Graduate Women’s Officer on Leeper’s slate.
The messages were all sent within an hour and included an open advertisement for Leeper’s slate, in which people were encouraged to visit the candidate’s website.
complaint was lodged with Ollie Linch, the Returning Officer, on the 12th November.
Election regulation h)2 states that, “Candidates may not send facebook messages via their facebook group.” A further regulation prohibits the sending of group emails. The messages were sent to 34 people, of whom 16 were involved with the campaign already.
Ed Moores, an agent for Leeper’s slate, defended Doshi’s actions. “We accept that Nishma is guilty of breaking h)2 and C6a) but we feel that the misdemeanour is minor due to the number of people that received the facebook message and is mitigated by Nishma’s immediate and well intentioned apology.”
In his ruling the RO said, “This flagrant, repeated breach cannot go unnoticed. Unlike the breaches in Moores v. Mason and O’Connell-Lauder v. Leeper (2), this is clearly a direct and egregious occurrence of electoral malpractice.”
This is the most recent of several fines received by OUSU candidates in this election campaign. Previous breaches have been largely associated with quotations in student papers.