Boggess’ letter sparks controversy

Jason Boggess, left, senior in mechanical and software engineering, and running mate Derek Haskin, junior in pre-business and criminal justice, Saturday, February 28, 2009, at the Memorial Union. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Logan Gaedke

Jason Boggess, left, senior in mechanical and software engineering, and running mate Derek Haskin, junior in pre-business and criminal justice, Saturday, February 28, 2009, at the Memorial Union. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Alissa Atkinson —

Government of the Student Body presidential candidate Jason Boggess, senior in mechanical engineering, submitted a letter published in the Daily last Friday that suggested members of GSB were against GSB presidential candidate and speaker of the senate Jonathan Turk, junior in political science, being elected GSB president.

Now some of the people referred to in the letter have denied the accuracy of his claims, but others have confirmed it.

In the letter, Boggess wrote “I personally have nothing against speaker Turk and had no preconceived notions about him before I started this race, so it is not my place to speculate on what we were told by the GSB members.”

But Boggess has changed his mind since he wrote Friday’s letter, saying Sunday he would “absolutely” believe the members of GSB.

“They are the experts in their field,” he said.

Boggess said 10 people came to him with comments about Turk. Boggess sent a list of seven GSB members who he said had been supporting him with his campaign. Of the seven, the Daily contacted three sources, one of whom did not want to comment and one who wanted to remain anonymous.

Boggess said these people have been telling him Turk is rude to them and people in his fraternity.

Boggess’ comments were confirmed by one of the sources interviewed.

“In GSB I’ve heard he’s very intimidating,” Boggess said.

In response to the letter and the speculation that came with it, Turk said “all I want to do is talk about the issues we’re running for.”

Turk said he is frustrated because there are people from the Inter-Residence Hall Association who have endorsed him, too, and he isn’t making it an issue. Boggess and vice-presidential candidate Derek Haskin, junior in pre-business, are members of the IRHA parliament.

“Our entire goal from the beginning of the campaign is we want to identify the most important and pressing issues facing this university,” Turk said. “Using our experience we want to bring solutions to these issues: making GSB more transparent, look at ways to actually bring change and improvements to the Campustown area and actually help foster diversity events on campus.

“We want students to feel they are more than just residents at ISU for four years,” he said.

Turk said the claims Boggess has made have “zero bearing on our ability to accomplish our goals.”

“It’s drawing attention away from what we should be focusing on — from a desperate opponent,” Turk said.

Boggess went on to say he thinks Turk is “an intelligent, honorable man.”

“He is very passionate about what he does and from what I’ve seen he doesn’t sound like that scary of a guy,” he said.

IRHA senator Luke Roling, senior in chemical engineering, who has endorsed Boggess, said “I absolutely have a ton of respect for both parties involved.

“I can’t downplay all that Turk has done for GSB in the last year,” he said. “I just figured I’d lend Jason some support and give him some recognition, too.”

In response to the anonymous messages about Turk that Boggess has referred to, Roling said he hasn’t heard much of it.

“It happens for every candidate,” he said. “There are people who don’t want Jon to win, but there are people who don’t want Jason either.”

He said he has confidence in both slates.

“I think both slates would do a do a fantastic job in office,” Roling said.

The individuals who Boggess referred to in the letter wished to remain anonymous because they thought it was negative campaigning, Boggess said.

Boggess said he would not have mentioned the claims against Turk had it only been one or two people complaining about Turk.

“I’m sure I’ve made one or two people mad in my life,” he said. “But the number of people was astonishing to me.”

GSB vice president Maggie Luttrell, senior in history, was on the list of the people Boggess said did not want Turk to be president.

“I’ve endorsed the Turk-Peterson campaign, so for me to say they’d be a bad president and vice president would be hypocritical,” she said. “I totally support them.”

In response, Boggess said she could be saying this “to be political.” He said he never suggested Luttrell had said anything bad about Turk-Peterson.

He later wrote in a text message that everything he had said was true, and “You are right: Maggie was a mistake to put on that list. Please, don’t make a bad decision.” In another message he wrote, “You sounded unconvinced. Please do not say that i said anything about Maggie working on our campaign. Any to the contrary is slander.”

Another GSB member named in Boggess’ list confirmed he or she was against Turk and had assisted the Boggess-Haskin campaign.