Students question campaign emails

A Review Board hearing may be on the horizon for a couple of Students’ Union General Election candidates following student complaints about campaign emailing.

According to Chief Returning Officer Tom O’Neill, Operations and Finance Commissioner candidate Andrew Lahey and Presidential candidate Fadi Guirgis have been warned about their alleged spamming of students by using email addresses obtained through the University of Calgary’s Blackboard system.

“I’m getting very close to taking this to the Review Board,” explained O’Neill. “Blackboard is not designed to be a mass emailing directory, and should not be used for that–just because a student goes to a class, doesn’t mean they should have special access to those students.”

Third year Geology and Geophysics student Kate Gage was outraged when she received Lehey’s email.

“I opened my email account and was disgusted to see an email from Andrew Lehey,” explained Gage. “I don’t know who he is, but he is apparently in my music history class. I felt like my privacy was violated.”

Email is a legitimate campaign material according to the SU Bylaws, however, O’Neill says the use of email lists is off limits.

“It’s one thing to use a list from a club you belong to with permission, but it’s another thing to email people you have no association with,” said O’Neill. “This doesn’t make me happy.”

If these or any other candidates are taken to the Review Board, they could face fines, have the election overturned, or be deprived of their election expense re-compensation.

O’Neill predicts there will be a number of Review Board cases after the election.

Lehey could not be contacted by press time, but Guirgis claims his email was not auto-generated from a mass-emailing list.

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