Following an investigation by the Allegheny Student Government secretary of student voting, the attorney general and the Judicial Review Board, presidential and vice presidential candidates Andrew Hopf, ’17, and Aubri Caslin, ’17, have been removed from the ballot.
According to an email sent to the candidates by Secretary of Voting Mark Myers, ’19, on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 24, the candidates were removed because the investigation found that “unethical campaign methods were used” and the candidates failed to attend a mandatory meeting prior to election day without giving proper notice of their absence.
Caslin was notified of the investigation in an email sent by Myers on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The email stated the reason for the investigation was due to the failure to attend a meeting prior to election day, complaints that Hopf had thrown a party to start the campaign, at which there was alcohol, and allegations that he made slanderous comments against Sofia Kaufman, ’17, another candidate in the race.
Hopf denied the veracity of the Judiciary Review Board’s findings, including the claims that he hosted a party to start his campaign, and said he feels there are no grounds for the claim.
“I don’t believe there would be any evidence,” Hopf said.
Hopf said he was especially outraged that he was never given a chance to address the charges against him before the decision was handed down.
“The very least they could have done is presented me with the evidence and let me explain it,” Hopf said.
Though he did miss the Feb. 23 meeting because of an appointment with a professor, Hopf said he felt this was not adequate grounds for removal from the ticket. He said he feels the decision was partly a result of the relationship of Kaufman and vice president and presidential candidate Tess Bracken, ’17, with some of the investigators.
Kaufman said she was only made aware of the accusations through rumors.
According to the official Judicial Review Board report, provided by Hopf, the board found no “concrete evidence” of the claims that Hopf slandered other candidates during the course of the campaign. However, it did find sufficient evidence to tie the campaign to the party, citing a post made by Hopf on Facebook.
“You can have a party to kick off your campaign, but once alcohol is involved, it violates ASG guidelines,” Myers said.
Myers said he could have removed Caslin and Hopf from the ticket after they missed a mandatory meeting for candidates on Tuesday, Feb. 23, without alerting the Judicial Review Board, but he wanted to make the process as open as possible.
“I wanted everything to be as transparent as possible because that is something we are working on in ASG,” Myers said.
Caslin, after receiving Myers’ email, resigned from her position as ASG director of communications and press. She said she was not pleased with how the situation was being handled and felt there would be tension with Bracken and Kaufman, against whom she was running.
“It was just going to be hella awkward working under [Bracken],” Caslin said.
Caslin denied the claims made by the Judicial Review Board’s report that Hopf hosted a party related to their campaign.
“There was never a party,” Caslin said.
While Caslin did not deny that she missed the required meeting, she said she told ASG members she could not be at meetings scheduled during track practices. Caslin said she was sent an email list of meeting dates. However, she said the way in which it was formatted made it difficult to read the Feb. 23 meeting time.
Caslin said she feels there was bias in the way the situation was handled, saying Myers, among others involved in the investigation, were biased as they are friends with Bracken and Kaufman.
“I just feel it was poorly handled and they need to have more outside people running it,” Caslin said.
The Judicial Review Board is an outside body whose members serve no other role in student government.