On the first day of ASUO campaigning yesterday, volunteers from two slates used the Emerald as a vehicle for its canvassing, which is both a violation of campaign rules and puts the Emerald in a strange position editorially.
Ben & Katie put fliers in Emeralds outside McKenzie Hall, and Students United put stamps on the front page of the paper.
Both make it seem as though the Emerald supports one slate over another, and it undermines our credibility and our independence when rogue members of campaigns act contrary to the rules.
Our publisher, Ryan Frank, took care of the initial communication with both campaign managers. And I’m happy to say that both campaign managers were promptly apologetic and understanding of how such practices might compromise the Emerald as an independent publication. They also said the slates weren’t immediately aware of what happened.
The e-mails between Frank and Ben & Katie campaign manager Ben Bowman and Students United campaign manager Ben Ordonez are below. Both Bowman and Ordonez have authorized their reproduction here.
Ryan Frank’s original message to both campaign managers
“We are happy to see that you feel the Emerald is an efficient way to reach University students. However, we do not allow any third party, whether it is Bank of America or an ASUO campaign, to insert [its name into our product] or [material in our distribution boxes].
There are two ways to make it into the pages of the Oregon Daily Emerald: Through the editorial news content or through buying advertising space …”
Ben Bowman response (Ben & Katie)
“Thank you for the notification. Our campaign did not condone these actions – it sounds like one of the volunteers from our kick-off party was uninformed about the elections rules. Apologies for any inconveniences and we will be re-informing our volunteers about elections rules to ensure no more violations occur.”
Ben Ordonez response (Students United)
“Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I do not exactly know how this happened, and it most certainly was not authorized by me … I will speak to our candidates tonight and make sure that none of them engages in this action in the future. We certainly do appreciate the journalistic integrity of the Oregon Daily Emerald and its yearly coverage of the ASUO Elections.”
As an independent student publication almost as old as the University, the Emerald is subject to no University control, and the content is solely the product of students writing about and for other students.
Here are a few things we guarantee our independence means for election season:
- The Emerald’s news coverage will explain the issues at stake for students in this election and provide them the information and facts they need to make an informed decision, without opinion or bias.
- The Editorial Board, composed of six members of the newsroom, before endorsing a slate on the opinion page, will speak with the primary winners in interviews held separately than those with our ASUO beat reporter.
Even though we’re student journalists, we take our jobs seriously and adhere to the standards of professional journalism. And during ASUO campaign season, it’s our job to provide unbiased coverage of candidates on our news pages, and we expect that same professionalism and respect from the ASUO candidates.