Do you think it’s okay to offer students a free drink in exchange for a signature on a special fees petition? If you don’t, then this was the graduate election scandal the Daily never covered.
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Two weeks ago, for some random reason (probably because I am on the 750 Pubs mailing list), I received an email from the Stanford Comedy Club stating that even though the special fees petition did not pass, if I had signed the Comedy Club’s special fees petition I was entitled to a free drink.
I actually had not signed the petition, and the more I thought about the e-mail, the more it seemed to me that the offer of a free drink in exchange for a signature on a special fees petition was pretty much an offer to buy someone’s signature on a special fees petition.
Rules governing ASSU elections state that candidates aren’t supposed to engage in such behavior, but is silent as to whether or not student groups can do this.
A bit upset that an (albeit minimal) part of my graduate student fees was going to give people free drinks in exchange for a special fees signature, I wrote the then-president of the GSC, the head of the Elections Commission, the GSC Funding Committee Chair and some other ASSU members asking if this was true, and that, at a minimum, this type of behavior should be banned in the future. Only the GSC Funding Committee Chair replied to me (via email) stating that the group was reprimanded, and that the group was “promoting an existing event (the free drinks) in a rather bad way.”
My problem — if the comedy club was promoting an existing event (the free drink), why does the email state that in order to get my free drink my SUID has to be on the special fees petition? This is still rewarding people who signed the special fees petition.
The Comedy Club’s special fees petition didn’t pass (even though apparently they were allowed to stay on the ballot), but what if a student group does this and wins special fees?