Update – Graduate Union rocked by election scandal – "Xin Jin has been disqualified from the elections"

5 March 2013

Graduate Union presidential candidate Xin ‘Bruno’ Jin is currently being investigated for breaking election rules, amidst allegations of email-hacking and unauthorised use of University mailing lists.

Since Monday, students across the University have received unsolicited emails urging them to vote for Xin. Many of these emails have come from the Hermes accounts of individual students apparently campaigning for Xin.

One such email, sent from the account of MPhil student Yiwei Lin at 10.13PM on Monday, encouraged fellow Judge Business School students to vote for “my buddy Xin Jin.” The subject line of Lin’s email reads “Please! Urgent Assistence Needed!”, and praises Xin for having “organized a number of good campaigns for the sake of graduate community” (sic), before asking the reader to “please kindly vote for management grad to lead 9000 Cambridge graduates” (sic).

At 11AM today, further emails were sent from Lin’s account claiming that “that someone has taken my password and sent the spam emails for voting.” Lin writes, “I apologise for any inconvenience and I was also very angry with the person sent the email under my name. I even did not know about the candidate.” On the Facebook event page for Xin’s candidacy, Yiwei Lin is currently listed as “going.”

Writing to TCS, Matthew Grosvenor, MCR President of Clare Hall, has described the techniques of Xin’s campaign as “terrifying”: “Either Bruno’s campaigners are “hacking” accounts to send spam advertising to garner votes, or they are simply sending spam and claiming it was “hacked” in order to get around election rules outlawing spamming of mailing lists, which is also outrageous.”

This is not the only report TCS has received of misuse of Hermes by Xin’s campaign. This afternoon, an emergency meeting of the CUSU/GU Elections Committee (EC) was called, in which Xin’s campaign was discussed. TCS understands that every graduate engineering student at the University has received an email encouraging them to vote for Xix, despite the fact that use of University mailing lists is specifically prohibited under the CUSU and GU electoral regulations.

When questioned following the EC meeting, a spokesperson for CUSU was unable to confirm or deny whether Xin will be asked to withdraw his candidacy.

Update:

The following update has just been published on the CUSU Elections website:

Xin Jin came in to meet Elections Committee for a Disciplinary Meeting regarding the remaining GU logo on much of his publicity after Elections Committee received complaints about this. He has promised to remove the remaining publicity and inform Elections Committee as he does so.

Elections Committee want to reiterate that it is inappropriate for MCR or JCR presidents to send college emails endorsing or criticising one candidate over others.

Elections Committee have ruled that any individuals that are collecting email addresses must be registered as campaigners.

Elections Committee have ruled that when collecting contact information for the purpose of campaigning, candidates/campaigners must ensure that the people whose details are collected are aware of the purpose for which their information will be used and consent to its use as such.

Elections Committee have ruled that campaigners must be registered before they commence campaigning.

Elections Committee have ruled that Xin Jin has breached the election rules as a result of his failure to register individuals who have been doing campaigning work as campaigners.

Elections Committee have ruled that Xin Jin has breached the election rules for allowing over 1000 unsolicited messages to be sent to individuals by email.

Elections Committee have ruled that, as a result of three significant breaches of the election rules, Xin Jin has been disqualified from the elections.”

More news and reaction to follow…

Tristram Fane Saunders

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