The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

VSG election pushed back a week, campaigning suspended until Monday

The campaign period will resume Monday, March 22, and voting will be open from March 29 until March 31.
Kirkland+Hall+during+the+fall.+Photo+taken+on+Oct.+12%2C+2020.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FEmery+Little%29
Emery Little
Kirkland Hall during the fall. Photo taken on Oct. 12, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little)

The VSG Elections Commission has postponed the 2021 VSG Presidential campaign, with voting occurring from Monday, March 29 at 8 a.m. CDT to Wednesday, March 31 at noon, per a March 19 email from Elections Commission Deputy Jordyn Perry obtained by The Hustler.

The initial campaign began at 8 a.m. CDT on March 15 with elections scheduled from 8 a.m. CDT on March 22 to 12 p.m. CDT on March 24. The results of the elections were initially planned to be released by the end of the day on Wednesday, March 24.

Perry declined to comment on the election postponement and the campaign suspension.

With both campaigns suspended for over 24 hours this week, the Elections Commission received a large volume of complaints requesting that the campaign period be extended. However, VSG Statutes 5.2.2 require that the election campaign begin on a Monday and that voting begin the following Monday,” the email said. “The Commission recognizes the legitimacy of these concerns, but this solution is the only way to comply with those statutory requirements.

The Elections Commission also required more time to gather evidence for “multiple legal challenges” that are still pending before making a final decision on campaign violations incurred this week.

“If the Elections Commission rules that either ticket was in violation of campaign standards, their campaign suspension will begin on Monday, March 22 at 8 AM,” the email said.

In addition to these details, campaigns are also required to release statements by midnight tonight informing supporters of the scheduled changes. Statements must also be approved by the Elections Commission, per the email.

The Hannah Bruns/Kayla Prowell campaign released a video statement on Instagram at 9:26 p.m. CDT. “We know the stereotypes that go along with being Black women seeking positions of power,” they state in the video. “We have never encouraged our constituents to attack the opposing ticket in any way, and we have done everything in our power to have a fair, respectful, and just campaign experience.”

At the time of publication, the Jordan Gould/Amisha Mittal campaign has not made a new statement regarding the most recent suspension and postponement. Their campaign Instagram page was temporarily disabled; since then, the account has been reactivated. The comment feature has been disabled, and no previous comments can be viewed.

Perry’s email specifically referred to a Judicial Court order released today, Legal Order 2021-001, which clarified what constitutes a violation of VSG’s negative campaigning prohibitions. In order to be in compliance with the order, campaigns must make it clear that “they do not condone negative campaigning” and must react promptly if they become aware of it.

Perry then outlined concrete steps for campaigns to take reasonable care to prevent negative campaigning from supporters, including discouraging negative campaigning on the part of campaign staff and supporters. If campaigns learn of negative campaigning from supporters, they should make every reasonable effort to discourage it, and if possible, they should, in a timely manner and in the same forum as the original negative message, place a statement that disavows the negative campaigning and disavows the specific accusation, per the email. 

Before the most recent suspension was announced, Bruns/Prowell issued a statement at approximately 1 p.m. CDT today on their Instagram addressing the negative campaign violation on March 19. 

“We want to take a moment to encourage all voters to abstain from negative campaigning,” the post read. “We are here to uplift voices. We are here to uplift voices. We encourage you to hold community members accountable, but we kindly request you do not make negative comments about any, even if you believe them to be true, so Hannah and Kayla are not penalized under VSG statues.”

The Gould/Mittal ticket also issued a now-deleted Instagram statement on March 19 at around 5 p.m. addressing the widespread confusion and the Bruns/Prowell suspension in a now temporarily deleted instagram post. 

“Various members of our campaign, from freshman to seniors, international students to transfer students, those of differing ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds alike, have been subject to staggering levels of targeted verbal assault,” the statement read. “It’s easy to say that the opposing ticket can’t manage or control the words and actions of those who support them. Our response to such claims is rather straightforward and simple: you absolutely can, and we have. It starts at the top.”

First-year student Kaitlyn Lane is not affiliated with either campaign but has been following both tickets on Instagram and keeping up with the state of the election. 

“I honestly think that it’s kind of crazy that there has been so much drama around the whole thing,” Lane said. “I don’t think that it’s the candidates faults because I don’t see them telling people to say these mean things or attack the people on the other side, so I just feel like it has gotten a little out of hand.”

She also noted that she doesn’t want to allow any of the drama influence her voting decision. 

“I am going to try and stick to what the different campaigns policies are and what their stances are on different issues instead of what the drama has been or what people who support them have been doing cause that might not necessarily reflect their views,” Lane said. 

Neither ticket responded to immediate requests from comment.

The Hustler will continue to investigate and report on this matter as more information becomes available.

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About the Contributors
Immanual John Milton, Former Editor in Chief
Immanual John Milton ('22) is from Minneapolis, MN. He studies computer science, economics and business. Before being Editor in Chief, Immanual was a deputy news editor. He can be reached at [email protected].    
Jonathan Liu, Former Deputy News Editor
Jonathan Liu (‘24) is from Fremont, California. He is pursuing a major in Neuroscience and Music with a minor in Medicine, Health and Society. You can reach him at [email protected].
Charlotte Mauger, Staff Writer
Charlotte Mauger ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in public policy with a minor in French. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her on FaceTime with her cats, watching movies or exploring all Nashville has to offer. You can reach her at [email protected].
Avery Muir, Former Managing Editor
Avery Muir ('21) is from Bethesda, MD. She studied political science and economics in the College of Arts and Science. Avery has been on staff since her first year at Vanderbilt, previously serving as a staff writer, Life Editor and then Copy Editor. In her free time, Avery likes drinking way too much coffee and exploring the Nashville food scene. You can reach her at [email protected].    
Rachael Perrotta, Senior Advisor
Rachael Perrotta ('24) is from Cranston, R.I., and is majoring in cognitive studies, communication of science and technology and political science in Peabody College. She was previously Editor-in-Chief and News Editor. If she's not pressing you for a comment, she's probably trying to convince you that she's over 5 feet tall, cheering on the Red Sox or wishing Nashville had a beach. She can be reached at [email protected].
Emery Little, Former Social Media Director
Emery Little (‘22) is from Birmingham, AL. She majored in communication of science and technology and Spanish. In her free time, she loves to design graphics, follow tech news and run her photography business. She can be reached at [email protected].
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