Sanctions placed on Dickerson campaign after code violations

Photo credit: Lariat File Photo

By Rylee Seavers | Staff Writer

Katy senior Amye Dickerson, student body external vice president, was found guilty of violating Baylor’s electoral code on March 28 by posting two unapproved videos to her campaign Facebook page.

A sanction was placed on the Dickerson campaign by the electoral commission, requiring her to suspend all campaign social media from March 28 until April 1, according to the official opinion of the court.

The Dickerson campaign appealed to the student court on the grounds that the electoral commission was wrong to find the campaign guilty, said Waco senior Elliott Riches, council to the Dickerson campaign.

The electoral code states that “All campaign materials must be approved by the electoral commission and by the department of student activities prior to distribution,” but later says campaign web pages must be approved, however “Individual posts are not subject to approval, provided the posts do not violate Baylor branding or the code of ethics.”

The Dickerson campaign also cited a previous case heard by the student court regarding freedom of expression as part of the appeal, Riches said.

“It was the campaign’s opinion that once we had the campaign page approved, that we were no longer required to get those individual things we were posting to it approved,” Riches said.

The student court did not accept this appeal and upheld the ruling of the electoral commission and the sanctions, Riches said.

After the sanctions were imposed on the Dickerson campaign, the Polvado campaign filed another claim alleging that the Dickerson campaign was not in compliance with the sanctions because individual members of the Dickerson campaign were posting to their personal social media accounts, said Mukwonago junior Andrew Patterson, council to the Polvado campaign.

Following the sanctions to the Dickerson campaign and prior to the second claim, the Dickerson campaign had consulted with the electoral commission regarding individual members of the Dickerson campaign posting while the official campaign social media accounts were under sanction, Riches said. The electoral commission told the Dickerson campaign that individual members of the campaign were allowed to post to their personal accounts, Riches said.

The electoral commission ruled that the Polvado campaign did not provide sufficient evidence to support the claims and that the Dickerson campaign was in compliance with the sanctions. Riches said the session lasted about 15 minutes before the commission reached this decision.

Patterson said that if a campaign does not receive approval to post campaign materials, then there is no way to ensure that the materials meet electoral code guidelines.

“The biggest [effect] that actions like this have is that it puts people like Mr. Polvado and other candidates that are following the code at a disadvantage because it does take time to go through the process of receiving approval,” Patterson said.