As pre-election campaigning comes to an end, Student Body presidential candidates experience negative campaigning, though it is unknown who is behind the actions or if they are connected with any specific campaign.
Candidates said they were not worried enough about erased and altered chalk messages to file complaints, but attacks last week on signs around campus raised more concern.
One A-frame sign from the Juan Soltero and Bruno Portigliatti campaign was found in Castor Lake on Thursday and another appeared burned, said Soltero, who received a phone call Thursday around 1:30 a.m. informing him that the sign was in the water.
“My concern is not the burning, it’s the act,” he said.
Supervisor of Elections Michael van Hoek said that the acts were not witnessed and reported, so he does not know who might be responsible.
“It’s easy to think candidates are directly involved,” but he does not know until there is proof, he said.
Presidential candidate Christopher Cano said that some of his signs have been tampered with both covered up and torn down and that there have been personal attacks on him during the course of the debates.
“There are always indirect attacks,” he said. “It doesn’t really bother me.”
Despite these events, candidates maintain that this campaign has been much cleaner than those in the past.
Presidential candidate Ralph Reid said that Homecoming campaigning last semester was dirtier than that of the presidential elections.
“I haven’t seen or heard a lot,” he said. “I haven’t been really affected aside from chalk.”
Soltero said that chalk-drawing alterations during the first week of school prompted him to speak to other candidates about the situation.
“We’re mature enough to realize this is dumb,” he said. “It’s wrong you shouldn’t be doing those kinds of things.”
Presidential candidate Christopher Leddy said that even though the campaigning has been going well, some chalking has been negative.
“We are trying to sidewalk-chalk in a positive way,” he said.
However, Soltero said that Leddy admitted to altering chalk during the first week of campaigning, and said it was “just politics.”
Cano said he has noticed the “chalking wars,” but his campaign has not chalked much because they find it somewhat tacky.
Van Hoek said this sort of thing goes on all the time.
“It’s too bad campaigning is reduced to that kind of behavior,” he said.
Other negative campaigning has occurred through word-of-mouth, van Hoek said, but no actions were taken against any candidates because no formal complaints were filed.
Candidates maintain that they are trying to run positive campaigns, and that they do not want the change that occurred with the previous election to reverse.
“We’re going to groups and talking to individuals to get those votes,” Cano said.
Soltero said that he and his running mate are trying to run their campaign as ethically and professionally as they can.
Leddy said he wants students to be excited for the election.
“Compared to years past, this year is a different type of election,” he said, “so it’s difficult to get the message out to students.”