Campus PAC targets ASUA presidential candidate Matt Lubisich in campaign ads
Senator Matt Lubisich, who is running for ASUA president, listens during a senate meeting on Feb. 1. Lubisich was the target of campaign ads placed around campus on Monday, Feb. 6.
Matt Lubisich, one of five Associated Students of the University of Arizona presidential candidates, found dozens of posters attacking his campaign early last Monday, Feb. 6. The bottom of the posters read “Produced by Students for a Trustworthy ASUA,” an apparent campus version of a political action committee.
According to Chloé Durand, ASUA elections commissioner, the posters misquoted and attempted to defame Lubisich. She added that “Students for a Trustworthy ASUA” is a false organization.
“The posters are a violation and were not approved by the elections committee,” Durand said. “After elections are over we will take a look again at the elections code and possibly add more about PACs to the elections code.”
The posters were taped to buildings with the most student traffic, according to Lubisich. He found them hung at Highland Market and the Social Sciences and Cesar Chavez buidling bulletin boards and entrances, he explained. A final one was taped to the back entrance of the Daily Wildcat newsroom.
Lubisich and his campaign team were able to quickly remove all the posters throughout campus.
“Out of my three years at ASUA, they were attacking me on saying no to business cards,” Lubisich said. “I don’t know and couldn’t tell you who is behind this but I would love to talk to these students who have this vendetta against me.”
Durand added that the ASUA elections committee did not want to make any assumptions about who may be responsible for the posters.
“It’s unfortunate that this type of behavior is happening because we’ve taken steps to remind candidates that it’s an election,” she said. “Unfortunately that didn’t stick with a couple people and they decided to hang up these posters.”
ASUA election committee’s first course of action was to send out an email to all candidates, reminding them that this behavior is not tolerated as outlined in the elections code.
“We will try to see if there are cameras around where the posters were hung up,” Durand said. “As stated in the elections code on defamation, if we do find out it was another candidate it would result in immediate disqualification.”
Enrico Trevisani, another ASUA presidential candidate and current ASUA senator, defended himself and explained that if he wanted to make any criticisms about Lubisich, they would be open and valid.
“If we’re being frank, I think it was one of my opponents directly or people supporting that person,” Trevisani said.
Stefano “Salt” Saltalamacchia, another ASUA presidential candidate, declined to comment on the posters early Thursday morning, expressing his distaste for the “nasty side” of ASUA elections.
“Advertising this flyer will only perpetuate the message,” Saltalamacchia said.
Sources commented on Trevisani’s past use of the word “trustworthy” when referring to ASUA, pointing out the parallel between “Students for a Trustworthy ASUA,” and added that anyone not present at ASUA meetings would have a hard time finding the information that was on the posters.
“I think it’s obvious that the person who did this saw the meetings that were publicly available and didn’t see how the money was actually allocated,” Trevisani said. “I talk about holding ASUA accountable—not necessarily trustworthy—but that’s something I would support. I can’t stress enough that my campaign had nothing to do with it. It was poorly done and researched.”
ASUA presidential candidate Cole Ryan also commented on the situation.
“I feel like everyone should have a fair shot and I don’t think anyone should be undermined,” he said. “Releasing these anti-Lubisich posters is defaming, and that’s not fair to him.”
Christopher Wright, also a ASUA presidential candidate, added that he understands the desire and the need to hold ASUA accountable, but there are better ways.
“This is a student election and this seems a little much to me,” he said. “I myself have not encountered things like this yet, nor do I hope to. I’d wish that we run this race as friends and allies, and work for a better ASUA together.”
According to the Facebook like counts, a psuedo-polling method for ASUA elections, Lubisich and Saltalamacchia are most likely to win, a source explained. Trevisani follows behind.
However, the Facebook likes do not reflect how well candidates’ campaigns are doing, as they are not limited to UA students.
Trevisani further defended his campaign, explaining that his relationship with Lubisich is professional.
“In terms of our personal relationship, we do not spend too much time together outside our roles as ASUA senators,” he said. “But I’ve never had any reason to be unfriendly.”
Lubisich added there is no reason for any candidate to be on unfriendly terms with anyone.
“Right now I don’t have any reason to believe it’s anyone,” he said. “I’m just preparing for it to happen again Monday morning before primary elections on Tuesday.”
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