Members of UO Forward protest Constitutional Court campaign ban
Tuesday, the ASUO Constitutional Court banned UO Forward from campaigning during the current run-off elections. The court determined that there was clear evidence that the campaign collected students’ contact information, during a petition drive in early March calling for the Board of Trustees to freeze tuition, with a secondary purpose of collecting phone numbers to reach out to voters during its active campaigning last week.
Thursday, individual members from the campaign slate returned, among others, into the vacant spot they left behind next to the We are Oregon campaigning table. What’s different? Today they brought a beer pong table setup with a sign strung across it reading, “Political games are being played, and we just want to play.”
Shawn Stevenson, campaign manager for UO Forward, said that this is not a UO Forward campaigning event. It consists of a group of individual students who are protesting that the ASUO Constitutional Court’s decision has violated the UO Forward members’ first amendment rights.
“The Constitutional Court, on Tuesday incorrectly connected a tuition freeze petition that I organized as an independent student with my current work.” Stevenson said, “The only reason they are doing that is because they are saying that our campaign used the numbers, which we did, because as a good political organizer, when I take any petition to the state legislature, that becomes public record, so as a political organizer, I then asked for those records after we presented the petition so I could then call students and inform them about what is going on in the ASUO elections.”
Stevenson stated that claiming that this action is against the election board rules directly violates his first amendment rights to “advocate and organize on behalf of issues I care about.”
When asked for a comment, Miles Sisk, presidential candidate of the rival We are Oregon campaign said, “When we filed for our candidacies, we all agreed as part of a contract, that we would follow the election’s rules, and if we were to break any of those rules that sanctions would apply. It just seems like UO Forward has chosen not to follow, and is now continuing to disagree with the rules that they had agreed to follow.”
ASUO Constitutional Court Justice, Allison Apana, was not immediately available for comment.
Friday, Stevenson continued the protest alone, “I would just like to say that the Constitutional Court decision on this matter is directly against university policy, and therefore, is invalid, but UO Forward will continue to fight against the obvious judicial interests of power, which is basically trying to decide an election through judicial means, but we will not allow for another Bush v. Gore on campus.”
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