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Public College Tries to Recruit Students to Assist Obama Campaign -- And May Have Violated Virginia State Law

Update: College responds to TheBlaze: "We agree it gave the wrong perception."

In this Friday, June 29, 2012 photo, Brian Conklin, a regional campaign director for President Barack Obama's reelection, gets clipboards ready before campaign volunteers arrive to register new voters prior to canvassing a neighborhood in Phoenix. Across the country both political parties have been courting the Latino vote, especially for the presidential election, the nation's fastest-growing minority group. Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Center for Student Diversity at the College of William and Mary may have violated Virginia election law on Tuesday after its official Twitter account solicited students to help the Obama campaign on Election Day.

According to Campus Reform, the Center for Student Diversity posted the following tweet from their official account late Tuesday afternoon: “If anyone wants to help the Obama Campaign go to 201 Peniman St. Contact the CSD [Center for Student Diversity] for more information."

The account had deleted the tweet as of 6:17 p.m. ET after they began getting inquiries about the message. Luckily, the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform took a screen shot of the account before they could erase their tracks:

(Twitter/Campus Reform)

No tweets asking students if they wanted to help the Romney campaign were sent out.

Campus Reform has more details on the potential election law violation by the publicly funded institution:

Virginia's Conflict of Interest Act, 2.2.-3100, prohibits public officials from using state resources for political purposes.

“State employees may not campaign for themselves or for anyone else during work hours, nor can they use state equipment or resources for political activities,” reads Virginia's employee handbook for public officials.

The College of William and Mary's Republican student organization blasted the school for the apparent endorsement.

“The administration should not be sending out partisan messages,” William and Mary College Republicans Chairman Tyler Johnson told Campus Reform, adding that the school administration's political ideology is a "one way street."

 

UPDATE (7:52 p.m. ET): College of William & Mary spokesman Brian Whitson sent the following statement to TheBlaze via email:

"A student assistant in the Center for Student Diversity put out a tweet this afternoon. It was intended to be an informational item and not a call to action but we agree it gave the wrong perception. As a university, we encourage student engagement but we don't take sides in elections. When it came to our attention, it was removed. Brian Whitson."
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