The IU Student Government Election Commission released five complaints filed against the Inspire campaign Sunday night.
All parties involved have until Tuesday morning to respond, then 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 Inspire 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.
The IUSG Election Commission will release preliminary election results after it publishes responses to each complaint, the commission said in an Instagram direct message. Next, the results will be sent to the IUSG Supreme Court for certification.
Both of the other tickets, Elevate and Legacy, collaborated to file complaints against Inspire’s Dorynn Mentor and Carling Louden for sending mass unsolicited text messages and emails. Elevate also provided screenshots of an Inspire campaign staff member calling “key members” of the Elevate campaign anti-Semitic and Islamophobic.
One of the complaints filed by Elevate claims Romael Khan, current IUSG Congressional Secretary and 2021 Inspire campaign staff member, intimidated members of the Muslims at IU group chat into voting against Elevate. The complaint included screenshots of texts sent by Khan on Thursday stating “key Elevate figures have anti-Semitic sentiments” and made “Islamophobic comments.”
Elevate said that because Khan sent the message while students could vote and refused to provide any evidence, Khan’s messages intended to intimidate voters and violated the election code.
In an Instagram direct message, the IUSG Election Commission informed the Indiana Daily Student that it dismissed this complaint.
Elevate and Legacy filed two complaints together. The first claimed Inspire violated the “Improper Use of IUSG Branding” article of the IUSG bylaws three times. By calling themselves Inspire, the same name as the winning 2020 ticket, Louden and Mentor deceive voters into believing Inspire is endorsed by IUSG, Elevate and Legacy said.
The current IUSG administration refers to itself as the “Inspire Administration” on the IUSG website. Additionally, Elevate and Legacy complained that Ruhan Syed, the current IUSG vice president, spoke on behalf of the Inspire campaign in an interview with the IDS. Syed served as campaign manager of the 2021 Inspire ticket while still acting as IUSG vice president.
Elevate and Legacy said Syed’s involvement with the 2021 Inspire campaign can be interpreted as an endorsement of the Office of the Student Body Vice President and therefore a violation of IUSG bylaws. Elevate and Legacy also provided screenshots of a voter saying Syed led them to believe he was on the 2021 Inspire ticket.
Elevate and Legacy said Khan, also mentioned in Elevate’s previous complaint, violated the same IUSG bylaw when he told voters in his dormitory group chat that the 2021 Inspire ticket is a “continuation of the work that we have done this year in IUSG.”
The second complaint filed jointly by Elevate and Legacy claims the Inspire ticket also violated the “Improper Use of Telecommunications” clause three times. In addition to the two opposing tickets, two IU students unaffiliated with any ticket filed similar complaints after receiving text messages and emails from the Inspire campaign without the ability to opt-out of further communication.
Mentor and Louden sent two mass text messages Friday, one just after midnight and the other around 9 p.m. All three complaints say the mass text messages and emails sent by Inspire failed to offer a clear way for recipients to opt-out of any further communication. Screenshots provided by Elevate, Legacy and unaffiliated IU sophomore Macy Brammer show students specifically asking Inspire to stop contacting them, but continuing to receive additional messages.
IUSG bylaws require that all emails, texts or calls sent by a campaign must clearly offer an option to receive no further communication. Additionally, the bylaws state once a student asks to stop receiving communication, any further communication constitutes an election violation.
Alongside the complaints, the IUSG Election Commission disclosed an email exchange between Louden and the IUSG Election Commission from March 29 and 30. The emails show that Inspire asked the IUSG Election Commission’s opinion on whether the ticket needs to include explicit instructions on how to opt-out of SMS messages.
Inspire said all of its SMS messages are opt-in and the footer of every webpage where students chose to opt-in includes instructions on how to opt-out. In response, the IUSG Election Commission said Inspire could send out the messages without explicit opt-out instructions as long as all recipients opted-in to communication.
Louden said in the email that Inspire will no longer communicate with those who opt-out, but multiple screenshots included in the complaints prove Inspire continued to send messages.
In an Instagram direct message to the IDS, the IUSG Election Commission said it dismissed Elevate’s complaint regarding Khan’s accusations of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, but accepted the four other complaints.