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ERC sanctions points to pres. candidate Cohen

Published: Thursday, February 25, 2010

Updated: Thursday, February 25, 2010 01:02

cohen

ORACLE PHOTO/MIKE WILSON

Presidential candidate Andrew Cohen listens during a hearing Wednesday night to discuss grievances filed against his campaign.

Five points was the penalty for a presidential candidate's Facebook photo showing what appears to be him holding a handgun and a container of alcohol.


Student Government's (SG) Election Rules Commission (ERC) issued the points to Andrew Cohen at a hearing Wednesday night prompted by 22 grievances filed by opponent Daniel Dunn, a senior majoring in philosophy, on Tuesday.


The ERC only discussed four of the grievances, all of which deal with code of conduct: one for harassment, two for providing false information and one for reckless behavior.

Supervisor of the ERC Michael LeBlanc said the photo of Cohen, 21, was in violation "because of its lack of conscious disregard for its consequences to persons or property in results in actual or potential damage or injury or harm to a person meaning mental damage in this post-Virginia Tech world."


Dunn's campaign manager Tucker Matias said at the meeting that the photo causing the sanction "promotes reckless and injurious
behavior." But Cohen, who apologized, said the gun was not loaded and was only handed to him to hold for the photo.


ERC issued no points for the grievance — filed for violation of the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity's Discrimination and Harassment Policies — that claimed Cohen, who is Jewish, and an unidentified male seem to be "mooning another country."


"…Both standing at what appears to be a perimeter fence in Israel. Mr. Cohen's pants are lowered, and he appears to be ‘mooning' the Palestinians on the other side of the fence," the grievance says.


"This grievance form asks us that we look at the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity and Harassment Policies section 1 and 4 … we took a step back and we look(ed) at it and we realized that nowhere in our statutes does it reference this policy section. Therefore … we as a commission decided that we had no jurisdiction over this," LeBlanc said.


But Cohen, SG director of University and Community Affairs,  said it is "100 percent" incorrect that he was in the location claimed by Dunn's campaign. Cohen said both photos were taken months ago in a different country, and he shouldn't be held accountable for what he did in another country.


"I was actually in no way in any representation of form or fashion of the University," Cohen said. "I understand that if I were at a USF football game, in the office, anywhere on campus, anywhere representing the University of South Florida that I could be held to the Student Code of Conduct."


Cohen said he plans to appeal the points to the SG Supreme Court today. Candidates are allotted no more than 10 points for violations before facing disqualification from the election. 

"I feel that the ERC acted incorrectly without all the proper information and I ask that the students continue to see what it was: a cheap excuse to try and get at another candidate and that it is completely unfair not just to me but to the student body," Cohen said.


Cohen said grievances aren't what campaigning is about. Cohen, who filed grievances against presidential candidate Cesar Hernandez's campaign last week, said the ones he filed are directly involved with campaigning.


"If I had used any of what I was accused tonight during campaigning, I would see reason," he said.


In the grievances Cohen filed, he tried to remain anonymous. Two of Dunn's grievances filed against Cohen claim he provided false information for doing so, but the ERC issued no points.

Dunn's grievance claims Cohen cited Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) — the law that ensures privacy for students. But Cohen said he did not cite FERPA and agreed to release his name upon request.


"The definition of false information is to knowingly make a material false, oral or written statement to any USF system official," LeBlanc said at the meeting. "Anonymous, we have decided, is not false information."


The remaining 18 grievances — six for misuse of materials, six for implied endorsement and six for trademark infringement — Dunn's campaign filed were dropped after Matias sent an e-mail Wednesday saying the campaign mistakenly identified the font they claimed in the violation.


Dunn's campaign claims the font used by Cohen's campaign — Adobe Garamond Pro — is in violation because it's "USF's official typeface," the grievance says.


The original grievances claimed the font in question was "Goudy," but Matias said in the e-mail the font was actually in the Garamond family, which Cohen admitted to using. So Dunn's campaign filed 18 new grievances citing the new font, and LeBlanc said a hearing will be held sometime today.

University spokesman Michael Hoad said to The Oracle on Tuesday that USF does not own the font and the issue is up to SG.

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23 comments

Anonymous
Wed Mar 3 2010 10:30
Cohen has 2 semesters of Student Government experience at USF. Cesar has none. Done
Anonymous
Wed Mar 3 2010 00:06
Cohen's ticket says he is for parking reform, which we really need... really... Cesar seems like a good guy but I dunno what to believe with him. He says hes the only undergraduate CEO- did he just assume that was the case? Because i know two others personally.

Either way the author clearly really has something against Cohen. I guess a pretend journalists like you has to try some hard-hitting defamation and portrayal of SG scandal to get a few readers but I'd like a more un-biased story here, especially when it's in the school newspaper delivering facts about the current election.

sugar and spikes
Tue Mar 2 2010 08:20
All I have to say is that Ted Bundy was well dressed and clean cut man! So don't bring appearance into this matter.
Mike
Mon Mar 1 2010 08:19
In a few years I see Cohen face plastered on Buses along with an 800 number. He looks like one of those lowlife Ambulance chasing Lawyers.
Alfalfa
Sun Feb 28 2010 18:32
Hey we already had a "Butters" , if by some chance Cohen sneaks in we can have "Spanky"
Anonymous
Sat Feb 27 2010 21:48
Anonymous
"How did this joker make it to the run off? I can not believe that he is even allowed to still hold a position in the student government. This is why the majority of students at USF believe that student government is a joke."

Amen to that, brother. Amen. You're 100% right. This guy shouldn't even be in the runoff. He should be disqualified and let Chris Leddy enter the runoff against Cesar Hernandez.

Anonymous
Sat Feb 27 2010 18:12
How did this joker make it to the run off? I can not believe that he is even allowed to still hold a position in the student government. This is why the majority of students at USF believe that student government is a joke.
Anonymous
Fri Feb 26 2010 23:41
I have a friend who is an RA. He would not let me take a picture of him with a knife because he could lose his job. If you're going to convince people you're smart enough to be a leader these are things you should think out. Anyone running for any sort of office can and should get in trouble for that. Those photos are things that can easily make you lose your job, let alone lose a race for SG.

"Cohen said both photos were taken months ago in a different country, and he shouldn’t be held accountable for what he did in another country."
How does that make sense? Please explain. If I go kill someone in Mexico am I not accountable once I'm back in America?

Thank you Daniel Dunn for not just letting this go.

Anonymous
Fri Feb 26 2010 19:10
The Oral censors comments. Equal Opportunity for all!
Anonymous
Fri Feb 26 2010 15:29
The only candidates to run a smooth, ethical and clean campaign are MOORE-DAVILA... why cant more people be like them?..... i hope they win.
Anonymous
Thu Feb 25 2010 16:02
"The photos in question do suggest that he has poor taste and poor judgment: two qualities that would make him a poor choice as president. How can he represent the student body when he so badly represents himself? "

YOU SAID IT.

Interesting
Thu Feb 25 2010 13:17
Christina Soper
Since I don't usually participate in student government, or ever even really pay attention, I wanted to explain why I finally took an interest and why I think Dunn/Jones are the one for the job. Daiquiri (Jones of Dunn/Jones) just walked up and said hi to me one day, no reason other than he actually thought I was worth knowing. Things are rarely so nice and simple nowadays. To just decide that people are worth getting to know and to skip any formalities, and to just say hi is so very rare now. Dan (Dunn of Dunn/Jones) welcomed me to his home without any question. I didn't have to meet them in a class, or in a club, it didn't matter. They encouraged me to reach out to people and helped me to do so, with great results. If nothing else, vote, for yourself, for the USF family. I hope you vote for whom you think is best.

February 14 at 4:52pm
Source: Facebook Group “Dunn/Jones for '10 Student Body President/Vice-President”

The DUNNce Cap
Thu Feb 25 2010 13:06
well Mr. ThisisUSF? i applaud your creativity. You are obviously an educated individual majoring in something that may actually have an impact on the world, but i have a piece of advice for a Mr. "Done" (ThisisUSF?, a couple comments previous) for your paper on why no one can take you seriously. 1) you need to wash your hair and shave. Didn't your grandmother ever make you dress in your Sundays best? or did hippies not go to church? 2) have a firm grasp on the issues. It is obvious that Socialist regimes have not had much progress here in this world. 3) Major in something that can actually make an impact here on earth instead of wasting your time thinking of things that were thought of thousands of years ago. You are apparently stuck in the past when hippies were cool, and socialist regimes actually had a chance to survive in this world. But news flash, this is AMERICA 2010, not 1940 GERMANY. please rethink your platform of the new fair deal and realize that it will never work and know that just because you have been at this university for since 1960 it doesn't mean you know whats best for it. I respectfully ask you to resign from this race before you lose an embarrassing race, and the ridicule will flow. Do what is best and become Mr.Done. Resign. Chyea
The DUNNce Cap
Thu Feb 25 2010 13:03
well Mr. ThisisUSF? i applaud your creativity. You are obviously an educated individual majoring in something that may actually have an impact on the world, but i have a piece of advice for a Mr. "Done" (ThisisUSF?, a couple comments previous) for your paper on why no one can take you seriously. 1) you need to wash your hair and shave. Didn't your grandmother ever make you dress in your Sundays best? or did hippies not go to church? 2) have a firm grasp on the issues. It is obvious that Socialist regimes have not had much progress here in this world. 3) Major in something that can actually make an impact here on earth instead of wasting your time thinking of things that were thought of thousands of years ago. You are apparently stuck in the past when hippies were cool, and socialist regimes actually had a chance to survive in this world. But news flash, this is AMERICA 2010, not 1940 GERMANY. please rethink your platform of the new fair deal and realize that it will never work and know that just because you have been at this university for since 1960 it doesn't mean you know whats best for it. I respectfully ask you to resign from this race before you lose an embarrassing race, and the ridicule will flow. Do what is best and become Mr.Done. Resign. Chyea
Word of Advice
Thu Feb 25 2010 13:00
ERC is getting even more ridiculous this year...

But on a word to the wise: this is why before the SG election you make all your Facebook photos private. Any potential candidates for 2011, remember that.

Anonymous
Thu Feb 25 2010 12:53
5 points for 1 picture. How many grievances were filed? 22? Hahahaha wow. Goodbye, Cohen. We will miss you.

A. B. C. D.

Anonymous
Thu Feb 25 2010 12:48
Actually Cohen has committed a Crime by posting his "Vote Today" signs on the median on Fletcher and on 50St. but I guess the he can laugh at the Florida State laws also.

810.11 Placing signs adjacent to highways; penalty.--

(1) All persons are prohibited from placing, posting, or erecting signs upon land or upon trees upon land adjacent to or adjoining all public highways of the state, without the written consent of the owner of such land, or the written consent of the attorney or agent of such owner.

(2) Every person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

Anonymous
Thu Feb 25 2010 12:40
Dunn/Jones are unstoppable! The stars are right !!!
James D.
Thu Feb 25 2010 09:39
Dunn knows he won't win, but he doesn't want Cohen in there. At least that's the way it seems to me.
Anonymous
Thu Feb 25 2010 08:03
Wait a minute.. "Anonymous" wants to start expelling students based on the photos they post of themselves on Facebook? And the university wants to censure students for posting photos with guns, which may cause "emotional harm" in "this post-Virginia Tech world"? Unless I'm mistaken, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, and though we may debate the finer points of what that statement allows, surely one's right to bear arms extends at the very least to one's right to holding a gun in a photo.

It does seem that Cohen is far from being a class-act. He clearly lacks a sense of professional decorum. The photos in question do suggest that he has poor taste and poor judgment: two qualities that would make him a poor choice as president. How can he represent the student body when he so badly represents himself? However, he has broken no laws, and the university has no authority to hand down penalties for these photos. If you're afraid that the students will vote for and elect such a poor candidate, then perhaps you should rethink the idea of a democratic election.





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