Jacky Chen appealing ETF decision
An hour into Monday night’s candidate forum, vice president of finance (VPF) candidate Liam Smith finished his speech right on schedule in front of hopeful ASSP officer core members and spectating students.
The audience clapped as he moved towards his seat, but he was stopped by current Executive Vice President Kaitlyn Payton directing him to stay at the front of the room. Smith looked around in confusion before asking, “Isn’t Jacky going to speak?”
Jacky Chen had been Smith’s opponent for the VPF position throughout the campaign, and the audience was as visibly confused as Smith as Samayo directed him to proceed with the questions portion alone.
Chen sat in the back of the room, dressed like the rest of the candidates in formal wear, and remained seated throughout the event.
When The Falcon approached Payton at the end of the event to ask why Chen was not allowed to speak, she said that Chen was no longer running and that she was “not at liberty to say anything further.”
Chen explained in an interview that he found out via email just before the event that he was officially disqualified from the race for VPF.
The email sent to Chen, obtained by The Falcon, states the primary reason as a “lack of professionalism” in regards to campaigning, which violates the Election Guidelines Section IV: Candidate Responsibility, Point B.
Additionally, the Election Task Force (ETF) wrote that it voted in light of Chen “disregarding official protocols on grievances” by knowingly addressing three out of the five ETF members and asking questions with the goal of getting confidential information, which was listed as Section XII: Grievance Process, Point A.
Chen has officially sent in his appeal as of early Tuesday morning, which is awaiting approval by the ETF.
Later that day, Chen shared with The Falconthat he was informed via email that his name will appear on Wednesday’s ballot due to the pending status of his candidacy.
The core of the issue, according to Chen, lies in a grievance filed against him by Smith regarding his campaign video.
Chen made the video in an attempt to make his campaign more personal, he explained. He thought a one-take video full of questions — some of which he said were unplanned and spontaneous — would help students get to know him, his goals and his personality better.
“I want to ask some questions to get people to know be better, and be more personable. Who wouldn’t want a candidate that’s (sic) personal, that’s a person not just a candidate?”
However, he was notified three days after he submitted the video to the ETF that there were violations of ASSP election policy.
“One of [the violations] was ‘Did you get consent from Liam?’ and the other was ‘Can you remove the comment of you talking about Arnett,” Chen said.
He explained that he had made a negative comment about the community aspects of Arnett Hall in comparison to other halls, and had included Smith in the video because he was working in the C-Store when Chen walked through.
Chen removed the mention of Arnett Hall from his video. However, while he requested Smith’s permission via Instagram direct message to include him in the video, and reports that Smith granted it, the Sodexo store policy prohibits employees from being filmed while working. Whether or not Smith granted permission, it was not his to grant.
He claims that Smith’s campaign team filed a grievance against him when they realized that several policy rules had been broken by the video, such as the Sodexo rules and a level of unprofessionalism.
Chen said that, as his video was one-take, he did not know Smith would be working and did not plan to film him “for personal gain” as Smith’s campaign claimed.
The ETF agreed that there was unprofessionalism present in the video, and notified both candidates around 5 p.m. the day of the forum on March 4, just an hour before the forum was set to begin.
Chen reports being “just, really furious” when he read the email while getting ready for the event.
He felt slighted and upset, and that the decision was unfair. “After all this effort, it’s almost like I just got backstabbed.”
Smith was unable to comment on almost all issues regarding Chen’s disqualification, due to policies surrounding ETF decisions.
“We’re not going to comment on any grievance that may or may not have been filed,” Smith said. “We’re gonna stay true to our campaign, we’re gonna stay focused on the students, we’re gonna stay focused on the issues.”
Chen, meanwhile, is not prepared to admit defeat. He says he is determined to appeal the decision, and that Whitney Broteje advised him to do the same.
“Yes. I thought about giving up, but I came too far,” said Chen.
Smith emphasized that his campaign will remain unchanging in the days leading up to the election on March 6, despite the turmoil. He says that he will continue on as he has been, regardless of what the ETF decides about his opponent.
“We’re still going door to door in every residence hall, we’re still contacting clubs. That doesn’t change depending on what an ETF decision was,” Smith said.