Ticket comes close to disqualification

There were no candidates disqualified from the Spring 2005 FAMU Elections, although one ticket came close to the minimum amount of violation points required to be considered for disqualification, according to the Electoral Commissioner Tiffany Cartwright.

Cartwright said there is no established maximum number of points needed to disqualify a student from a race.

“The minimum is 50 (points), before we meet to determine disqualification,” Cartwright said.

The final number of violation points incurred by each candidate was not available as of Tuesday night.

However, as of Feb. 19, Ramon Alexander and Phillip Agnew, who ran for SGA President and Vice President, were the only candidates who were close to 50 points. They received 45 points for campaigning in the SGA offices or Lee Hall Auditorium.

“We take the point system very serious,” Cartwright said.

One of the major violations of the Spring 2005 Point System is posting campaign material with copyrighted and/ or trademarked logos, and it could cost a candidate 50 points.

Ranaldo Allen, senior senator and acting chair of SGA’s Elections and Appointments Committee, said section 602.1, which outlines rules and regulations for candidates governing student elections of the election code, refers only to approved materials.

Allen explained approved materials are limited to the posters posted outside of the Student Union and other designated areas.

According to http://www.copyright.gov, the law protects “original works of authorship,” under title 17, U.S. Code. This law gives exclusive rights to the owner of the copyright to reproduce, distribute, perform the work publicly, etc.

Maria Mallory White, The Famuan adviser said an article The Famuan published about

Torey Alston, who ran for SGA President, was reproduced. Mallory White said Alston did not have permission from The Famuan and was in violation of The Famuan’s copyright.

Cartwright declined to comment on the incident.

Alston said his committee did not reproduce the article, but some supporters of his campaign did it.

“I spoke with the (Famuan) adviser and because today is election day, the problem is resolved,” Alston said. “The adviser and I will follow up with each other if there are any further issues.”

Catherine Jefferson, senior university union program specialist and adviser to the Electoral Commission, said the liability for copyright infringement on non-posted material is not on the University but on the candidate.

The Grand Ballroom’s Precinct Supervisor, LaToya Keys, said she believes the University should not assume legal responsibility for the individual actions of students who do commit copyright infringement on unapproved materials.

“The University did not tell them to do it,” Keys said.

Concerns about the objectivity of some members of the commission have also risen. When a student wearing a Alston-Wilmoth was seen blaring obscenities through a bull horn the issue was brought before the commission.

“When it came to giving points to the Alston-Wilmoth ticket for defamation of character they did not do their constitution duties as a whole,” said Carey Goins, sophomore senator and Electoral Commission member.

There are 25 violations listed in the Spring 2005 Election Codes, which count towards the final count of candidate’s votes.

Commission members are responsible for assessing the points after convening and discussing the severity of infractions.

Contact Carla Jones at famuannews@hotmail.com