Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Keller violated rules, will not be disqualified from holding office

The University of Alabama Student Government Association Elections Board has decided Vice President-elect for Student Affairs Stephen Keller and his campaign “violated the spirit of a fair campaign” by accepting and distributing fliers under the banner of Students for Experienced Leaders on election day. Keller will not be disqualified from holding office and was instead given a sanction of 75 hours of community service for his actions.

Keller was notified of the decision via email on March 21, the day before spring break, with a letter signed by Madalyn Vaughn and Robert Herron, co-chairs of the Elections Board.

Keller was initially accused of violating election rules by accepting and distributing fliers on election day without reporting them to the Elections Board. Elliot Spillers, the opposing candidate for vice president for student affairs, filed a complaint with the Elections Board on March 12 after WVUA-FM reported that Keller had received and distributed the fliers.

Keller admitted to accepting and distributing some of the fliers but said he did not believe his actions constituted a violation of rules.

The Elections Board chose to accept Keller’s amended financial disclosure form, citing a past precedent for accepting late or amended forms. However, the board found that Keller had violated election rules nonetheless.

“The Board felt that your acceptance of the Students for Experienced Leadership flyers and distribution by your campaign team violated the spirit of a fair campaign on Election Day,” the letter said.

The board specifically cited Article 3, Section 1.B of the Student Government Elections Manual. The sections states that, “The candidate is responsible for communicating campaign guidelines to their campaign team. Should any person campaigning for a particular candidate be found in any violation of any guideline, the candidate will be held responsible.”

In an emailed statement, Keller said he was disappointed by the board’s decision.

“In every way, I followed the specific rules that are listed in the Elections Manual,” Keller said. “My campaign team and I acted ethically, morally and responsibility [sic] throughout the entire campaign period.”

Keller said the manual is unclear on how to handle donations on election day and that he and his team acted on their own judgment.

“There was and is currently no specific way described in the Elections Manual to claim and report any sort of expenditure on the actual day of the election, nor are election-day expenses prohibited,” Keller said. “My campaign staff and I decided the best way for me to report the in-kind donation would be to email the Elections Board the following day and report the expenditure.”

Members of the Elections Board were unable to be reached for comment.

Spillers, who filed the initial complaint, said he plans to pursue other options to appeal the decision of the Elections Board.

“I have decided to appeal the decision. However, I feel like because of the politics of the school, nothing is really going to change about the decision,” Spillers said.

He said that although it was not the decision he wanted, he hopes Keller will make the most of his community service.

“It wasn’t the result I wanted, but I’m not going to let that stop me from making a difference here on campus,” Spillers said.

Keller will be confirmed as vice president for student affairs on Tuesday. Keller said he is looking forward to serving the Tuscaloosa community during his term.

“I am ready to hit the ground running these next few weeks to ensure my campaign platform becomes a reality for all students as we work together to build a stronger Capstone,” Keller said.

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