E-mails fuel questions

Since the online voting polls opened at midnight on Tuesday morning, students have been flooded with advertisements from the various candidates for student trustee. Chalked names cover the Quad; flyers fill the bulletin boards in buildings; candidates are campaigning throughout campus; and e-mails have taken up space in student accounts.

While many students appear unfazed by campaign e-mails, many are curious to know how candidates got their addresses.

Mike Wilson, chairman of the Student Election Commission, said it is absolutely within regulations for candidates to contact students through e-mail.

“If they’re purchasing massmails that’s fine,” Wilson said. “If they’re getting them in another way, that might be something else.”

The biggest concern for the election commission, which writes and enforces the rules for student elections, is that all candidates are getting equal access to resources such as student e-mails.

Student trustee Paul Schmitt said campaign e-mails have been sent out for as long as he has been on campus, and it is a tried way of contacting students.

“The whole thing is to get the message out to get people to vote,” Schmitt said.

Usually students begin collecting e-mail addresses from students in the weeks before elections, and then use their lists to send to as many people as possible.

Schmitt said it is common to use e-mail lists sent from professors and from registered student organizations. Candidates typically recruit their friends to compile more names for the list.

One of the candidates whose campaign e-mail has been received by many students is Matt Reschke, junior in LAS.

For the past two weeks he and his friends have been using the online student directory to gather e-mail addresses of as many students as possible.

“It took a lot of work and a lot of time,” Reschke said.

He said he thought it was a standard campaigning procedure and was surprised to see the other candidates did not all send e-mails.

Candidate Chris Cox, junior in LAS, said he sent e-mails on a smaller scale.

He estimates between 500 and 700 students received them.

He said he used the e-mails from students who signed his paperwork to make him eligible to run for student trustee.

He also collected more while campaigning and included them in his master list.

“It was the people I talked to three weeks ago, and it was to remind them who I was,” Cox said.

Dan Weber, sophomore in LAS, is another candidate whose campaign e-mail has reached a large number of students.

“I got the e-mails in a similar fashion to other people,” Weber said.

“I just collected them over time.”

He thinks online campaigning is a good direction for candidates to take because they can reach large groups of students quickly and easily, he said.

Martin St. Aubin, junior in ACES, said he did not send e-mails to students because he did not have the resources available to him, and his campaign was not premeditated to give him time to collect e-mails.

Another candidate, Roberto Martell, junior in LAS, said he did not personally send e-mails but believes people might have on his behalf.

“I didn’t send something out,” Martell said. “I believe one of my officers might have.”

For students who received e-mails from candidates they did not know, it was most likely the result of candidates taking time to collect e-mail addresses.

“It doesn’t really bother me,” said Marsha Sorenson, a senior in LAS. “It’s a good way to get your name out.”