Arizona CRA Member Politically Persecuted by Student Government, Denied Elected Office

March 27, 2024
By
Simon Siedl

A CRA Member at the University of Arizona was retroactively disqualified from a Student Senate position on illegitimate charges of election rule violations by left-wing members of the Student Government, even after winning his seat by more votes than any other candidate running.

Benjamin Jackson, an officer at the University of Arizona College Republicans Chapter, ran for a Student Senate Seat in the University Student Government also known as the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA), operating his campaign from March 18th to March 21st. Jackson spoke at length with CRA News and shared his official affidavit of proceedings, which he sent to the ASUA Supreme Court to appeal his disqualification.

The disqualification hinged on two incidents. First, on March 20th, Jackson was reprimanded at by Student Body President Alyssa Sanchez while helping table for the CR chapter on the school’s central mall, per usual. The only thing out of the ordinary was the QR codes provided, encouraging students to vote and  “advertise the election as a whole,” according to Jackson’s affidavit. Jackson emphasized that he had no motive to garner votes for himself, given that he had no opposition. Jackson’s affidavit details the event thoroughly.

“She originally accused us of violating the elections code by tabling inside of a WEB (Wildcat Events Board) event. However, this was blatantly false as we were tabling outside of the event on the other side of the flagpole. She then continued to harass us and verbally assault me specifically as I was a candidate running for office and I needed to ‘stay neutral’. This is not included in the election code whatsoever,” the affidavit read. Jackson went on to say he has witnesses of the event and argues the incident calls the motives of Sanchez, the head of ASUA, into question.

Jackson won his race, “receiving more votes than any other individual senator” with 322, but nonetheless called for an audit of the election on social media following victory post. The public audit request was made on behalf of Arturo Whipple, a fellow College Republican whose campaign for Executive Vice President Jackson claims was improperly put down by the ASUA, which he claims “violated multiple sections of its own bylaws to stop a grassroots movement started by Mr. Whipple.”

In response, the Current Executive Vice President, Eddie Barron responded to the post online incensed at the suggestion of the audit and simultaneously defending the elections as fair and transparent. Barron even told  Jackson he should have followed election code himself and to resign immediately. At this time, Jackson had not been informed of any election code violations, despite Barron’s reference to them. 

Barron calls for Jackson's resignation online

Barron accuses Jackson of election violations before any notice

Jackson wrote in his affidavit “This further supports my claim that the administration of the ASUA was actively trying to single me out as an individual and disqualify me for speaking out against them.”

Moreover, Barron is an openly politically active democrat and leftist, having visited Joe Biden’s White House, and affectionately tagged radical leftist Senator Bernie Sanders.


Then, on March 25th around 2:30 pm, Jackson was emailed an official notice of a campaign violation based on an unspecified complaint, which alleged that Jackson had received an endorsement from the College Republicans Club on campus without reporting in advance. This constituted a “5-point violation”, with ten points total leading to candidate disqualification.

According to Jackson, and the Arizona College Republicans' social media feed, no such endorsement had been made, nor did the email ever specify one. However, he told CRA News that his CR membership and participation in the tabling event were likely the catalysts. Jackson also argues  in his affidavit that the violation is invalid ,due to him simply being informed too late. “...ASUA has a 48-hour window to alert me of these alleged violations excluding holidays and weekends.” his affidavit reads. “Our tabling ended at 2 PM on Wednesday and I was not notified until 2:24 PM on Monday, over 72 hours later….This alone should throw out the violations in question…” 

The ASUA denied his request however, arguing they had “24 office hours” to inform him, though this specification of “office hours,” as defining the time window simply does not exist in the relevant bylaws (Article VIII, Section 1, Rules A and C).

The very next day, March 26th, Jackson was informed of another 5-point violation, this one on his post requesting an audit itself, claiming a violation under Section of the election code preventing the use of the ASUA elections logo in campaign material. Jackson argues in his affidavit that his use of the logo did not violate any of the four rules in Section Five, explicitly falling under an exception in Rule B. Jackson told also told CRA that this logo was the only one candidates were given and that were “told to use that specifically on our posts,”  and even used it on his original campaign announcement post with no violation. Regardless, Jackson has since archived the post in attempts to cool tempers.

The violation notice further admitted that the post did not “strictly qualify” as campaign material, but the e=Election Commissioner exercised its “discretion” in issuing the disqualifying penalty regardless. The Elections Commissioner in question, Paola Mendivil Yon, is by no stretch politiclaly neutral either. She visited Biden’s White House alongside Barron and other ASUA members, including former ASUA President Patrick Robles, who currently works for Democrat Governor Katie Hobbes and who appointed Yon to her position as Commissioner. 


As a result of these two alleged violations, Jackson was disqualified from office even after winning it, and is currently appealing the decision to the ASUA Supreme Court.

Club President Ricky Guthridge shared his thoughts on the incident with CRA News.

“It’s extremely disappointing and troubling that an organization such as the ASUA can abuse its power to wrongfully disqualify a candidate simply for speaking out against their actions,” his affidavit reads.

"The University of Arizona continues there discriminatory policies against conservative students and this is why I take the role of being the president so seriously that we must defeat the far left that has taken over our institutions," Guthridge wrote. Jackson expressed similarly distraught sentiments in talks with CRA as well.

CRA is carefully monitoring the situation and supports Jackson in his fight against what appears to be blatant political persecution.

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