Car enters election zone on Library Walk

    A rogue sympathizer of the New Wave slate nearly brought down the New Wave campaign by driving his poster-laden 1994 Ford Escort station wagon down Library Walk on Wednesday.

    Opposing slates and candidates filed a complaint against the driver, Bryan Barton. They argued the action violated election by-laws regarding campaigning and posting within 50 feet of voting stations.

    An A.S. elections committee inquiry found the slate not guilty for Barton’s actions because Barton is not a New Wave slate member.

    Parisa Baharian of the Action slate, Navneet Grewal of the Students First slate and William Tunick, an independent candidate running for vice president of finance, brought the complaint to the committee.

    At the hearing held by the A.S. elections committee, many New Wave slate members were present to defend and distance themselves from the driver and his actions.

    New Wave slate members testified that they were outraged by Barton, who they only vaguely knew, if at all.

    Baharian questioned Ryan Darby, who is New Wave’s candidate for commissioner of communications, regarding his role in providing Barton with the posters.

    Darby testified that Barton asked him for New Wave posters to place on his car. Darby obliged, seeking publicity for his slate’s campaign.

    Barton arrived late to the Wednesday meeting, holding a prepared statement that he deemed “”Exhibit A,”” of which he read.

    “”Last Tuesday, on my own accord, I taped three large banners to my car and went on a joyride about the campus,”” Barton read.

    Barton contends his ride ended when he drove up to the New Wave slate members who were in the Student Center fixing posters as “”they all approached my car en masse, shouting things like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ and ‘Are you trying to get us disqualified?’ And then they ripped all the posters off my car and made me leave in shame.””

    Garo Bournoutian, the New Wave vice president finance candidate who first saw the car while manning the New Wave table on Library Walk, described his first emotion as “”bewilderment.””

    “”I was quite amazed that he had our posters. I have never seen this guy before,”” Bournoutian said. “”He is not part of our slate.””

    Darby defended his giving of posters to Barton, but acknowledged he may be held responsible.

    “”I in no way authorize, condone or have any knowledge of this whatsoever,”” Darby said.

    Barton said he did not tell Darby or the slate of his plans to drive on Library Walk, nor did Darby ask him to drive through campus. Darby testified he thought Barton would drive only on roads that compose Campus Loop. He asked Barton to be safe by not placing the signs over the car’s windows.

    Barton seemed to have pleaded ignorance to possibly breaking campaign rules.

    “”I had no clue that that was a rule at all. When I drove by I saw a tent there … I’m like, ‘Dude, is that then like where the voters are?’ I didn’t know that tent was where they were voting until now.””

    Barton repeatedly apologized for his actions, he said he hopes it does not affect the slate’s standing.

    Any number of actions could have be taken, including limiting New Wave’s campaigning or disqualifying the slate.

    New Wave was pleased with the decision.

    “”I’m very glad the committee found the false charges to be false,”” said New Wave candidate for Marshall senior senator and leader of the defense, Robert Forouzandeh.

    (Editors Note: Darby and Baharian are Senior staff writers for the Guardian.) Staff writer Laura McGann contributed to this article.

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