Chadwick has been issued a campaign ban without any prior warnings, for the Elections Committee believed him to have received "significant advantage" from the postBELLA PENG

GU President candidate Jack Chadwick has been banned from campaigning by the Elections Committee, after a Facebook event promoting his campaign was added to ‘upcoming events’ of the St. Edmund’s College Cambridge Facebook page.

The event, ‘Jack for Grad President’ was added as an event on the College’s official Facebook page on earlier today, and was still available until Varsity reached out for comment from the College, at which point it was removed. 

A spokesperson for St. Edmund’s has urged that Chadwick’s ban be lifted. In a comment to Varsity, the spokesperson said: “We think, given that Jack did not proactively encourage mention of his campaign on this channel, and the detrimental effect that comes from media coverage of a campaign ban, his chance to fight a full and fair election should be reinstated.”

The description of the Facebook event lay out Chadwick’s main policy areas, and since 28th February, Chadwick had posted seven times on the event page promoting his candidacy.

The Elections Committee ruled that Chadwick had violated sections 2.5 and 3.2 of CUSU/GU election rules. Section 3.2 says that the “use of pre-existing email lists, social media pages or groups for the purpose of promoting your candidacy is not permitted”. The posting of the Facebook event promoting Chadwick’s campaign onto the College Facebook page thus constitutes the usage of a “pre-existing” social media page for the promotion of a candidate, violating the said rule.

The Elections Committee defines any person or institution acting to the advantage of a particular candidate as a ‘campaigner’, and subject to campaign rules. 

Section 2.5 states that JCRs, MCRs and CUSU Campaigns may not endorse candidates, while “selective moderation of posts to email lists, groups or social media pages resulting in any candidate(s) being favoured shall be considered an endorsement”. The posting of a promotional Facebook event of Chadwick can be considered as an endorsement from the St. Edmund’s College.

Colleges are not explicitly listed as entities disallowed from endorsing a particular candidate on the CUSU/GU election rules. However, section 2.3 of the rules states: “Students should not seek or promote endorsements from anyone not a member of CUSU or the GU.”

A spokesperson for St Edmund’s said that “there was not an awareness of the CUSU/GU election rules when adding Jack’s Facebook event to the College’s page. It has also been difficult to find these rules via google searching but from what could be found, it looks like the rules apply to JCRs and MCRs only.

“The social media account being referred to is run by staff of the College, not by any of its students. Even though it looks like the rules here might be ambiguous, the step has been taken to remove any linkage to the event as a precautionary measure to try and limit any potential for breaching the spirit of the rules guiding these elections.

“The event was ‘added’ to the Facebook page (as opposed to shared, which is something different), on the morning of 8 March by the Development Office.”


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The Elections Committee has also stated that prior to knowing about the Facebook event, it has been made known of “a message” sent to the St Edmund’s mailing list “encouraging students to vote for Jack”, which breaches both section 2.5 on the impartiality of MCRs and section 3.2 on the use of pre-existing mailing lists.

In a statement to Varsity, Chadwick said: “I think the ban is overkill. The decision of the College to share my event was taken without my knowledge. Nor has anyone on my campaign team shared the event on closed groups.

He added: “The infractions also pale in comparison to one of the other candidate’s use of £590 of MCR/GU money on an event during the campaign period. The EC is not being very even in its application on the rules on impartiality.”

In a email to Varsity, the Elections Committee defended their decision to issue a ban, saying: “Candidates are responsible for the conduct of their campaigners, and anyone who is promoting the candidacy of a candidate is counted as a campaigner, thus, it remains Jack’s responsibility to ensure these kinds of posts do not occur.

“Therefore, the elections committee will not be revising its decision with regard to this – However, Jack has been advised of his right to appeal this decision”, they added.

Responding to the claim that the funds spent on an event involving GU candidate Alessandro Ceccarelli during the campaigning period constituted a breach of election rules, the Elections Committee told Varsity that they determined the Hughes Hall LGBTQ+ Megamixer to not have been a rules breach. Providing Varsity with the original email explains their decision not to impose sanctions on Ceccarelli’s campaign, they noted that the event had been funded by several MCRs and the GU, without “misuse of campaign funds,” that the event had been organised before campaigning as part of Ceccarelli’s role at the GU, and that Ceccarelli had told his team to avoid engaging in campaigning activities during the event.”

Ceccarelli told Varsity that the EC has “undertaken in depth investigations,” and added that: “I totally trust the Election Committee, and the processes of GU and  CUSU in these matters. They are all doing their best, and Chadwick should trust their judgment.” He emphasised that the event was originally “organised in late 2018, early 2019,” and that it was helped by the previous GU LGBTQ+ officer, as well as other MCR reps – meaning he had limited involvement in its organisation, and left the event “half way through.”

Chadwick was issued a campaign ban without having received any prior warnings. The Elections Committee explained that it was because they believe Chadwick to be “well aware” of the rules, and that he “has been asked to remove posts of a similar nature beforehand”.

Furthermore, the Election Committee believed that this post has “constituted a significant advantage" for Chadwick’s campaign, therefore he has been banned from campaigning until voting closes. Any further campaign action from Chadwick “may precipitate further sanctions”.

Chadwick is the first candidate to be issued a campaign ban in this year’s CUSU/GU elections. CUSU President candidate Shadab Ahmed has similarly broken section 3.2 of elections rules for ‘liking’ a promotional post of his campaign in a College freshers’ Facebook group, for which Ahmed received a formal warning.

This year’s GU President candidates are Alessandro Ceccarelli, Jack Chadwick, and Devarchan Banerjee.

This article was updated at 17.09 to include comment from Ceccarelli

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