Hill-Fujimura ASOSU presidential ticket appeal to avoid disqualification

Associated Students of Oregon State University Presidential Candidate Jack Hill, left, and Vice Presidential Candidate Gretchen Fujimura pose in front of the Memorial Union. 

Jade Minzlaff, ASOSU Beat Reporter

Clarification: This story has been clarified to sooner indicate the nature of the incident which fell under major campaign violation rule four. 

The results of the Associated Students of Oregon State University presidential election will be withheld until the Judicial Council announces their ruling after the Hill-Fujimura presidential ticket filed a second appeal to avoid disqualification after being found guilty twice of committing a major campaign violation. 

The upcoming ruling will determine whether or not the Hill-Fujimura ticket will be disqualified from the 2020 presidential race. In the event that the Judicial Council finds the Hill-Fujimura ticket guilty, they will still be eligible to run in future elections and participate in ASOSU. 

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During the Feb. 20 hearing, the ASOSU Elections Committee determined that the ticket composed of Presidential Candidate Jack Hill and Vice Presidential Candidate Gretchen Fujimura was found guilty of violating major campaign violation rule four, which is “Harassment, intimidation, bribery or fraud with the intent of affecting the outcome of the election,” after Hill attempted to pay fellow presidential candidate Dylan Perfect to drop his campaign.  

At the Feb. 20 hearing, the Hill-Fujimura ticket were found guilty by Kylie Boenisch, Safi Ahmad, and Halli Barrios of the Elections Committee. At this hearing, Hill requested an appeal, and was found guilty again by Ian Walker and Joe Harper during the Feb. 21 appeal. 

“[The elections committee] purposely segregated those memberships to ensure a due process and also that we weren’t the same people voting on and listening to that information, it was different people evaluating the circumstances,” said Ahmad, a fifth-year student in industrial engineering.

During the Feb. 21 appeal, the Hill-Fujimura ticket requested another appeal, to the ASOSU Judicial Council. 

According to Ahmad, the date for the Judicial Council hearing hasn’t been finalized yet, but said it needs to be held at least seven academic days after Feb. 21.

Barrios, a fifth-year biology student, said when this hearing is held, it will be open to the public. 

Both Ahmad and Barrios declined to offer personal opinions on the alleged bribe or the appeal process at this stage. According to Ahmad, the content of the first hearing was primarily a discussion of what incident occurred between Perfect and Hill during their meeting and whether it qualified as a violation of rule four. 

The incident that was declared a violation of rule four occured at a meeting between Hill and Perfect, where Hill allegedly offered to reimburse Perfect for the amount he’d spent on the campaign to incentivise him to drop out of the race.

Perfect said on Monday, Jan. 29, before the candidates were officially announced, he was approached by Hill with a request for a confidential discussion, and the two agreed to meet in the Memorial Union a few days later. Neither vice presidential candidates, Fujimura or Emily Warren, were present at this meeting. 

According to a written summary of the incident that Perfect provided to the ASOSU Elections Committee, Perfect said, “He acknowledged that we were both running for ASOSU President and proceeded to request that I drop from the race, largely on the premise that he was better equipped to defeat ASOSU Senator Isabel Núñez [Pérez], whom we both believed to be running. At some point during this conversation, Representative Hill said that, in relation to his campaign, his parents were ‘bankrolling’ this, and that if it was the money I had already spent on my campaign that was holding me back from dropping out and supporting him, that I wouldn’t have to worry about it,” Perfect said. 

Perfect said that he disagreed with Hill and did not accept the offer.  

“I did not accept what I interpreted to be an offer to reimburse my expenses associated with dropping out of the race,” Perfect said. “I also ultimately disagreed with Representative Hill’s assertion that he would carry forward my ideas better than Senator Núñez [Pérez], if elected. I declined to leave the race and wished him luck.” 

Perfect said that he’s been “cordial” with Hill in the time since, and wishes to focus on issues more relevant to the future of their campaign.  

“It’s about focusing on the issues that Emily and I have been hoping to bring to the table, and at the end of the day we’ve got to win on our own merits. I don’t want to take this opportunity to tear them down, and I also know that Gretchen wasn’t involved necessarily in the incident that occurred,” Perfect said.

Hill was contacted multiple times over both email and the joint Fujimura_Hill campaign Instagram, Hill had not responded at the time of publication. 

Fujimura provided a statement via email on her thoughts about the alleged campaign violation. 

I would like for it to be mentioned that I had no idea of the violation that took place until I got an email from the Elections Committee. I had no say nor no action in the violation. I was not at the meeting between Hill and Perfect. I am really disappointed in what Jack had said. And I want to make sure that people know that I had no control over what he said,” Fujimura said. “I was completely blind-sighted and it has hurt me deeply. I loved campaigning and was very hopeful about what I could do to better OSU. I am not a bad person and I don’t support bribery or any intimidation.”

The results of the ASOSU presidential election will be postponed until after the Judicial Council has reached their decision, some time on or after Mar. 3, but was originally scheduled to be released after 10 p.m. on Feb. 21.

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