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Postering Problems Hamper Campaigns

By Jeremy Hylton

Violations of the Undergraduate Association's postering policy have frustrated candidates' efforts to campaign over the last week. One team for UA president and vice president, Anthony R. G. Gastelum '95 and Zohar Sachs '96, was banned from postering over the weekend.

Many of the problems stemmed from candidates misunderstanding the postering policy, which allows only one poster per bulletin board, according to Rohit Sharma '96, UA election commissioner.

Sharma also attributed the postering troubles to the large number of candidates. "We've got a lot of candidates for a lot of the class council positions," he said. "They're all out there and trying to get the best spot."

After receiving complaints from candidates about postering violations, Sharma wrote to all the candidates to reiterate the postering policy. "That seemed to do pretty well," he said. "We've still had some problems, but those were mostly left over from [earlier] problems."

Gastelum and Sachs were suspended after repeated violations, Sharma said. "Certain violations re-occurred and the commission had no other alternative after a certain point," he said. Sharma cited the team for putting too many posters on a single bulletin board and tearing other posters down.

Sachs attributed much of the problem to misunderstandings. "We were a little bit unclear about postering policy because it is a little bit ambiguous," she said. "We ended up putting up two signs per board."

Still, Sachs did not think the suspension was appropriate. "We had been caught for all these ridiculous violations," she said. But, she added, "We didn't think the punishment was very harsh."

After Sharma informed the team that it had violated the postering rules, they took down most of their posters, but forgot posters on "some of the very obscure boards," Sachs said.

Sharma also cited Gastelum and Sachs for tearing down other candidates' posters, though Sachs denies the charge. Someone else probably tore down the posters, and shear coincidence made it look like Gastelum and Sachs had, she said.

Sharma did not characterize the violations as intentional. "There were not the same problems over and over. New violations came up and they were very cooperative about it," he said. "It had to be done, just to keep the elections as fair as possible."

Problems are `petty'

Many candidates think the problems are the result of pettiness -- both because of the actual violations and because candidates complained about them. "It wasn't so much that [the commission] complained about it, but that other candidates complained about it," Sachs said.

Sookyung Lee '95, a candidate for class president, was disturbed by the problems. She has not had many problems with her own posters, but is concerned by other candidates' reactions.

"I feel harassed because I've been accused by the other candidates of pulling down their posters and removing them. I've been wrongly accused of it, but not only that -- my posters have been torn down too," Lee said.

"I thought this election thing was going really great and I was really happy," she added. "I think it's gone over the limit of the normal election campaigning."

Sandy Joung '95, another candidate for class president, agreed that there were some problems, but was not as concerned as Lee. "There is a problem, but it's not ripping down posters, but with the rules," Joung said.

"It is kind of a problem because there is a limited amount of space. Right now I don't see it as a big deal," Joung said. She noted that a few of her posters had been taken down recently.

Jay Sarkar '95, a third class president candidate, agreed that problems exist. "General problems always arise when people are running for office. I think the intensity this year has caused some of the problems," he said.

"I don't think anyone has any malicious intent," Sarkar added.

Violations should have little effect

Sharma and Joung downplayed the significance of the postering problems. "It's just a little problem," Joung said. Other candidates felt there was a problem, but, as one candidate put it, "I think it's all blown out of proportion in general."

Sharma did not feel the ban of postering would seriously effect the Gastelum and Sachs campaign either. "I personally don't think that it will have too much of an effect on the campaigning or the election process," he said.

Sachs was also unconcerned by the ban. "We feel that we've postered so much in the last few weeks that a few days won't make a difference," she said.

Part of the postering problem may have nothing to do with the candidates, Lee noted. "It could be just other random people -- that's how I looked at it. Other people poster too, it's not just the candidates," she explained.