Monday, July 13, 2020
Home News Campus News Political Endorsement Email Violating UCI Policy Sent Out Through UCI Engineering By...

Political Endorsement Email Violating UCI Policy Sent Out Through UCI Engineering By Bryce Lindsey

Update 4/17/2020: The title of this article has been updated for clarification.

An email from the Engineering Undergraduate Student Affairs signed by ASUCI Engineering Senator Bryce Lindsey was sent out to undergraduate engineering students on April 14 encouraging them to vote in support of the new ASUCI Constitution for the ASUCI Elections despite unapproved political endorsement being against university policy.

The email — written by Lindsey — told the students that the new ASUCI Constitution would secure $750,000 for UCI Clubs and that the new constitution needed to pass for engineering organizations and the Engineering Student Council to receive $60,000.

“I encourage you to Vote Yes on the ASUCI Constitution and for candidates who will Fund your Clubs,” Lindsey said in the end of the email.  

Lindsey’s email was sent using ZotMail, which is used to “transmit authorized business messages.” However, according to the UCI Administrative Policies and Procedures, ZotMail cannot be used to imply University or campus endorsement without approval by the Chancellor or a designee.

“As a School we know what ASUCI has accomplished on behalf of the engineering students and felt that you should know that as well. The mistake was including the latter half of the email that tried to tell you how to vote on the ASUCI Constitution and the slate of officers; that section should have been removed so as not to imply an endorsement by the School,” Robin Jeffers, Director of Undergraduate Student Affairs in the school of engineering, said in an email apologizing for the confusion caused by Linsey’s email.

When asked to comment about how it is against university policy to use ZotMail for political advocacy purposes, Lindsey responded that he did not make any political positions in the email, and that he did not support any organization because “Fund your Clubs” is not an organization.

“I encouraged students to vote for candidates who will fund their clubs. Many slates claim to wish to do so,” Lindsey said.

Fund the Clubs and Anteaters United are the only two slates whose slate statements mention funding for clubs. However, Fund the Clubs specifically “promises” that ASUCI funds will be given to registered campus organizations. Fund the Clubs is also the only slate whose candidates publicly support the new constitution, which was originally written by Lindsey

Three of the Fund the Clubs candidates — Ryan Pavey, Logan Knight and Joshua Wolfe — ran alongside Lindsey last year under the Friends of Peter slate. Lindsey, Pavey, Knight and Wolfe were all recalled last quarter.

According to Lindsey, he did not send the ZotMail email. He said that Jeffers, the Director of Undergraduate Student Affairs in the engineering school, did.

“I asked for the email to be sent through ENGRnews, not through zotmail. The prior engineering-wide email we [the ASUCI Engineering Senators] sent was through ENGRnews,” Lindsey said.

However, Grant Carson — a student majoring in computer engineering — forwarded the previous engineering-wide email sent by the Engineering Senators to the New University and it shows that it was sent using ZotMail, not ENGRnews as Lindsey said.

Carson told the New University that the most recent ENGRnews, or Engineering News, emails that engineering students received had been about instructor evaluations, and they received the last email from ENGRnews on March 14 of this year.

Other engineering-wide emails — like those regarding coronavirus and the transition from in-person to online engineering classes — have been sent through ZotMail.

Oriana Gonzalez is the 2019-2020 Editor-In-Chief. She can be reached at eic@newuniversity.org.

Ian Anzlowar is a Staff Writer. He can be reached at ianzlowa@uci.edu