The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Verdict reached but not disclosed on potential UISG election code violation

The polls have closed for UISG elections, but the student judicial branch of UISG has not yet released its verdict on whether UI SURGE Party violated election code.
Lily Smith
Members of UI’s SURGE Party speak in an interview with The Daily Iowan in Adler Journalism Building on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Both the UI SURGE Party and an “adherent to their party were found “responsible” in the matter of intimidation of another ticket in an initial judicial verdict given by the Student Elections Commissioner on Monday.

On Thursday, The Daily Iowan received a copy of the Judicial Verdict & Opinion document, which was finalized Monday. Voting for the election closed Thursday at 5 p.m.

The verdict found “SURGE Adherent & SURGE Party” responsible for “verbal or physical harassment or intimidation of other ticket candidates or adherents.”

RELATED: Four campaigns announced UISG candidacy

In the document, the word “intimidation” was bolded four times.

The person who sent the document to the DI said, “out of fear for intimidation I do not want to reveal my identity.”

Student Elections Commissioner Johanna Hetherington’s verdict came after a complaint was filed by Envision Iowa, another party running in the election, in response to social media posts made about a tweet from then-Envision Iowa presidential candidate Kyle Apple.

The DI reached out to Hetherington for comment but never received a response.

Apple’s tweet criticized a movement to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, calling Tubman an “irrelevant woman.”

A screenshot of the tweet was initially posted by UI SURGE Party website designer Andie Dutton. Dutton wrote along the 2015 tweet screenshot, “Is this a statement you still stand by about Harriet Tubman?”

Envision Iowa Vice Presidential Candidate Lucee Laursen said in an interview with the DI March 21, prior to the verdict being reached, that their party submitted an election code violation complaint in response to the postings. She did not expressly identify Dutton or the UI SURGE Party.

[Editor’s note: Laursen is a DI columnist]

RELATED: Apologies, investigation follow UISG presidential candidate’s tweet

According to the judicial verdict, “the ‘candidate in violation’ performed an extensive search into the background of a candidate, to the level of internet stalking, by discovering posts from 2010. By posting the screenshots and tagging the ticket as a whole, the accused performed an act that seriously hindered the reputation of another campaign.”

The verdict went on to say that the act of tagging the ticket in the posts, which allowed their names to be implicated, was an act of intimidation and potential voter suppression for their supporters.

“It painted an entire ticket of people, and their supporters, as intolerant and bigoted,” the verdict said.

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”VIEW: Copy of the Judicial Verdict & Opinion”]

The UI SURGE Party appealed the verdict.

According to UISG election code, after responsible individual(s) are notified of the Student Elections Commissioner’s ruling, they have 24 hours to appeal the ruling. The appeals are then taken to the Student Judicial Court who may decide the appeal or remand to the Student Elections Commissioner.

“Previously, it was a $100 deduction in campaign spending and so we appealed it because SURGE should not be held responsible for Andie’s actions,” SURGE Party Presidential Candidate Hira Mustafa said in response to the verdict. “‘Adherent’ is not defined in the election code, and so what is arbitrary is what the definition of that is. But Andie did not sign an election code, and we [SURGE] did not have any knowledge of the posts before they were going up whatsoever, this came as a surprise to our whole team.”

Mustafa also said the hearing on the complaint did not follow election code.

“The first hearing was not done according to election code,” Mustafa said. “We were not sent evidence, like we were supposed to, nor did we get the required amount of time to collect our own evidence. We went into this hearing blindsided.”

Executive Director of the Iowa Memorial Union Bill Nelson, who serves as the adviser for UISG, said the Student Judicial Court “is ruling on the case” in an email to the DI Thursday.

As of 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Adelaide Zwick, Chief Justice of the UISG Student Judicial Court, said the parties are not aware that a decision has already been made.

“A decision has been made. I just can’t talk about it yet because it hasn’t been released,” Zwick said. “That’s our policy. We want to let the tickets concerned in the decision know about it before we run an article about it.”

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