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The Collegian News Blog

Unapproved campaign flyer leaks to The Daily Collegian

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Unapproved, controversial flyers were leaked to The Daily Collegian yesterday, and traced back to Student Government Association presidential candidate Derek Khanna.

The flyer, of which 300 copies were made - but allegedly never distributed by the Khanna campaign - included a picture taken from SGA presidential candidate Malcolm Chu's Facebook profile, and was manipulated with Khanna's handwriting.

The flyer was a screenshot of Chu's Facebook profile, and depicted a crude graph of ethnic demographics on campus in the shape of a hand giving the middle finger. The middle finger was meant to represent the overwhelming majority of white students on campus, which it listed at 14,110. Written on the flyer, in Khanna's handwriting, was the phrase "Should he be president?" The flyer was not an approved campaign material.

At a meeting held last night in the Dukes Meeting Room in the Student Union, a judicial committee in charge of SGA campaigning met and decided that Khanna would be given a written warning for not getting approval for his flyer. Khanna's campaign would be allowed to continue, however, as it was allegedly never his intention to distribute the flyer on campus.

Khanna responded that he photocopied the original but was unaware of any distributive action, and said that it was possible one of his campaign workers may have given copies to The Collegian, though there is no evidence to confirm or deny this claim.

Because of the ambiguity of the situation, the committee was unable to vote on the levels of violation, which were whether or not the material was approved by the chancellor of election, whether or not the candidate was responsible for his campaign workers (there was no evidence to support a vote for this), and whether or not the material the candidate presented wrongfully represented another candidate.

The flyer did not support any specific candidate, including Khanna, and was only negative toward Chu.After the committee voted to allow Khanna to continue his campaign with a warning restricting him from distributing any more flyers, he said in a statement that he apologized to Chu, but asked that he be reminded that Facebook is public.

"My campaign and I speak highly of the elections committee to take issues like this seriously," he said. "My campaign and I still agree, as we did last night [Monday, when the flyers were printed] that we would not put the flyers up. I agree wholeheartedly with the position of a warning."
posted by Holly Seabury, 11:43 AM

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