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student govt

IUSG Inspire campaign files 10 complaints against Elevate, 8 against Legacy


The Inspire campaign submitted 18 complaints to the IU Student Government Election Commission Monday night: 10 against the Elevate ticket and eight against the Legacy ticket. 

These complaints come just one day after the IUSG Election Commission released five complaints filed against Inspire.

The 18 additional complaints will delay the release of preliminary election results. In an Instagram direct message, the IUSG Election Commission said it will wait to announce election results until it has publicly responded to every complaint. 

All parties involved have 72 hours to respond, the commission said Tuesday morning. 

Inspire deleted all except three of their Instagram posts Monday, including all photos of vice presidential candidate Carling Louden. The Inspire website is now inaccessible. 

Complaints against Elevate

Inspire aimed ten of its 18 total complaints toward the Elevate ticket, which consists of presidential candidate Ky Freeman and vice presidential candidate Madeline Dederichs. 

Inspire said Elevate purposely misled the IUSG Election Commission to believe the ticket obtained 157 signatures before submitting its application for candidacy. Inspire said this violation alone is grounds for disqualification because obtaining 150 signatures is one of the main requirements to appear on the ballot. Dederichs emailed a spreadsheet on March 28 that contained 157 signatures that had been gathered up until the afternoon of March 11. Inspire suspects Elevate submitted its application prior to March 11, which would mean not all signatures on the spreadsheet count toward Elevate’s candidacy. 

Related: [IUSG Supreme Court will not hear pre-election appeal questioning Elevate Eligibility]

Inspire accused Elevate of election interference. In its complaint, Inspire included three alleged examples of the Elevate campaign violating the IUSG bylaws by defacing, destroying or altering Inspire campaign materials. 

First, an IU student tweeted photos of Louden from 2018. One photo featured Louden pointing to the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago and the other showed her posing in a “Reagan Bush ‘84” hat. Inspire included screenshots of the student calling Louden “a Trump supporting racist” over email and posting Inspire campaign materials on Twitter to urge students to vote for Elevate instead. Although he does not officially work for the campaign, Inspire said the student qualifies as an Elevate staff member due to “evident close, personal connections” with Freeman.

Inspire provided two other examples of what its members called election interference in which the complainants say Inspire branding was defamed and used to promote Elevate. An IU graduate posted screenshots of Inspire campaign text messages to Twitter to encourage students to vote for Elevate and an IU sophomore tagged the Inspire account in a tweet claiming Inspire was “giving a platform to an actual Nazi.” Inspire said it presumes both individuals are Elevate staff members, but neither is officially acknowledged by Elevate as staff. 

Inspire also filed a telecommunications complaint alleging Elevate sent out a mass email March 21 and a mass text message April 2 without any information on how to opt-out of further communication. 

IUSG bylaws require that all emails, texts or calls sent by a campaign must clearly offer an option to receive no further communication, which Inspire claims Elevate did not do. 

In another complaint, Inspire said Elevate illegally used IUSG branding to promote its campaign by posting a photo to the Elevate Instagram of Dederichs in front of an IUSG banner. 

Furthermore, Inspire alleged IUSG Congressional Press Secretary Katie Scott violated the “Improper Use of IUSG Office” portion of the bylaws because she sent Inspire an Instagram direct message identifying herself as Press Secretary of the Student Body Congress while displaying the Elevate logo as her profile picture. 

In another complaint, Inspire said Elevate mismanaged its campaign finances. Elevate released a promotion video featuring the song “Elevate” from the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” soundtrack. Inspire claimed the cost of buying the license for the song would range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, which likely exceeds Elevate’s total campaign contributions. 

Inspire said it suspects Elevate committed a violation either by failing to purchase a license for the song “Elevate” or failing to report the expenditure. 

Other complaints made by Inspire against Elevate include alleging the campaign failed to provide the IUSG Election Commission with a list of its staff members, posted campaign materials in residence halls without permission, campaigned at the Indiana Memorial Union without permission, violated COVID-19 protocol while campaigning at the IMU, disobeyed IU policy by flying unauthorized drones and campaigned before the official campaign window opened. 

Complaints against Legacy

The remaining complaints targeted Legacy, which includes presidential candidate Carrick Moon and vice presidential candidate Shibani Mody. Inspire claimed Legacy should be disqualified because Mody is not a legitimate candidate. 

In one of its formal complaints, Inspire said the original Legacy vice presidential candidate, Dav Graham, withdrew his candidacy March 21. Mody then took Graham’s place on the Legacy ticket. The final day to apply for candidacy was March 11, and IUSG bylaws do not provide a process for a candidate to be added after the application has closed, according to Inspire’s complaint.

Inspire suspected Legacy also violated campaign finance rules by failing to purchase a commercial license to use a Miguel song in a promotional video and photo of IU President Michael McRobbie that is owned by USA TODAY SPORTS. 

Legacy received three of the same complaints as Elevate. Inspire alleged failure to provide a clear way to opt-out of unsolicited mass messages, failure to provide the IUSG Election Commission with an updated list of its campaign staff and posting campaign materials in residential buildings without authorization. 

Finally, Inspire accused Legacy of intimidation and harassment, citing allegedly defamatory Instagram posts, comments and direct messages as evidence. Inspire provided screenshots showing that people who posted their support of the Inspire campaign on Instagram received messages from Legacy staff members claiming that supporting Inspire perpetuates “racist  rhetoric.” 

The IUSG Election Commission will launch an investigation into each complaint and conduct a vote. Each complaint must receive a two-thirds majority vote from the Election Commission for the accused ticket to be found responsible for a violation. For each violation, there is a point deduction, and a ticket can lose 10 points before being disqualified from the election altogether. 

CORRECTION: Mody’s name was misspelled in a previous version of this article. A previous version of this article misattributed a complaint to Elevate instead of Inspire.

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