NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.–On March 23, NU’s Election Committee announced that an investigation into the campaign tactics of NUSGA Presidential Primary candidate, Secretary Sophia Castro, revealed Castro had violated two policies within the NUSGA Election Publicity Guidelines.
The guidelines in question state that t-shirts cannot be given out to students and non-students that aren’t on a candidate’s campaign team, and that Community Advisors cannot publicly endorse any candidate.
Reports surfaced claiming Castro’s campaign t-shirts were spotted being worn by members of the basketball team, although this has not been specified or officially substantiated by the Election Committee.
The announcement was made through an email addressed to the student body. The statement says, because of the unsanctioned t-shirt distribution, Former Class of 2018 President Richard Luczak has re-entered the race.
The race is now between candidates Luczak, Castro and Parliamentarian Andrew Hayes. The winner of the General Election will be named President-Elect for the 2017-2018 year.
Many are wondering why Secretary Castro was not disqualified from the race after the investigation. Jon Borek, head of the Election Committee, states that “After extensive deliberation, the Election Committee determined that the tactics of Secretary Castro did not warrant disqualification. Such a heavy punishment would be reserved for more egregious campaign violations.” He goes on to say, “This is why we chose to send an email to the entire student body that explained that Election Guidelines were broken by Secretary Castro, in order to be completely transparent about what had occurred, and also allow students to make informed voting decisions. Above all else, our goal throughout this entire process was to provide the fairest election for all parties involved.”
Sophia Castro issued a statement via Twitter on Thursday addressing the t-shirt misconduct.
“I am deeply sorry if my t-shirts offended or hurt anybody,” the statement says. “I look to have a transparent campaign and use my platform to benefit rather than hinder the integrity of NUSGA and Niagara University as a whole.”
Castro went on to say, “While attempting new and creative ways to run a campaign, there were ambiguities that gave way to confusion, and it has been a learning curve for all involved.”
Voting for the election began Friday, March 24 and has ended today, March 25 at 9:30 a.m. Votes were casted through myNU.