The ASUO Constitutional Court grants an injunction to stay elections board ruling on We Are Oregon
On Friday morning, external vice president candidate for ASUO elections campaign slate Ducks F.I.R.S.T, Elle Mallon, filed a grievance against We Are Oregon.
The grievance claims that We Are Oregon held their kick-off event in a location where “trans people have second-class access” due to its lack of gender-inclusive bathrooms.
The grievance contained a screenshot of We Are Oregon presidential candidate Miles Sisk stating his plans to cover a men’s sign on a PLC bathroom door with a sign stating that it is a gender-inclusive bathroom, and a photo of the signs.
The kick-off event was held in 180 Prince Lucien Campbell Hall.
According to the Taylor Allison, We Are Oregon campaign manager, the campaign had overlooked having a location with gender-inclusive bathrooms.
“In the future our campaign will continue to work incredibly hard to ensure that we can continue to creating gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus, and I know that our presidential candidate Miles Sisk has been working on that in his position on ASUO senate,” she said. However, she disagreed with the allegations made that the campaign has violated Title IX. “Title IX is a federal law that the elections board has no authorization to respond to, and individuals can’t violate it.”
When asked for comment on We Are Oregon’s response to the grievance, Mallon said “Title IX harassment is any sexual harassment by any corporation or school, and that is done by individuals, we think also that the systematic exclusion of trans-people falls under Title IX harassment; however, even if the elections board can’t rule that they did violate Title IX, the preamble of the elections rules say that no students can be discriminated against based on gender and sex.”
The grievance asked that the We Are Oregon campaign to cease all contact with voters and all candidates and volunteers.
The Election Board’s response
The Elections Board reviewed the grievance and came to the conclusion that We Are Oregon had violated elections rule 10.1, which states that, “no elector may employ, for any purpose relating to an ASUO election, any university faculty or resource to which other electors do not have equal access.”
After reviewing Sisk’s statements that said “I’m not trying to avoid the Title 9 complaint because frankly I’m interested to see how that may pan out…” the elections board decided that this was evidence that he was aware that PLC 180 would provide unequal access and chose not to address it.
The Elections Board also concluded that We Are Oregon violated rule 10.1.1 which defined “equity of access” as “relating to factors including, but not limited to, the absence of any rule or policy limiting or barring any prospective individual’s use of the facility or resource for campaign related purposes, and the absence of any preference accorded to any prospective user for the campaign related use of the facility or resource” in holding its campaign kick off event in a location that did not provide gender-inclusive bathrooms, along with not providing “any form of remedy to affected students.”
The Elections Board barred We Are Oregon campaign from campaigning, including through “in person contact, street petitioning, and any in person public campaigning” from April 5th at 9am to April 6th at 5pm — 36 hours in campaign sanctions.
We Are Oregon filed an injunction Saturday afternoon with the ASUO Constitution Court asking that the court stay the elections board’s ruling.
The injunction request states that the elections board has “misapplied” rules it 10.1 and 10.1.1, and should lift its sanctions.
Referencing the part of rule 10.1, which states, “the availability of comparable University facilities or resources is equivalent to equality of access,” the injunction request reads that, “the rule is clearly referring to electors monopolizing various university resources to help a campaign” and “that equality of access is not vitiated by the need to pay for such a resource.”
The injunction request references the factors of “equality of access” in rule 10.1.1, which states, “the absence of any rule or policy limiting or barring any prospective individual’s use of faculty or resource for campaign related purposes, and the absence of any preference accorded to any prospective user for the campaign-related use of the campaign or resource,” and states, “that the preference does not concern the faculty itself but it being used in a campaign-related way.”
The request also criticizes the Election Board, in what it states to be, treating a violation to rule 10.1 as a “severe violation” in its judgment of We Are Oregon.
The injunction request also says that Sisk’s Facebook message, attached to Mallon’s grievance, is a “misquote.”
When asked to comment on the message Sisk said, “the evidence that they used against me, my message, was sent on February 20th, and had nothing to do with the kick-off event.”
According to Allison, on February 20th, the campaign slate had not yet made reservations for a kick-off event. Allison claims that the message was in regards to an ASUO senate meeting that didn’t have a gender inclusive bathroom.
Mallon was not immediately available for comment.
At 5:04 p.m., the ASUO Constitutional Court granted the injunction to stay the election board’s ruling — meaning that We Are Oregon is allowed to campaign for the next four days.
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