The Liberal and NDP campaigns in Kamloops traded accusations Thursday over the use of TRU resources for political campaigning.
Liberal MLA Terry Lake said Thursday that a NDP campaign worker who teaches at Thompson Rivers University has been using the university's email system to solicit money and support for New Democrat candidate Tom Friedman — also a university employee.
"This is clearly offside," Lake said of emails from Micah Rankin, a local NDP executive and law professor at TRU.
"This person knows it's using public resources and it's contrary to TRU policy."
Rankin acknowledged he used the TRU listserve, but said he did the work from his home computer.
The faculty member and NDP volunteer responded to the accusation, saying the Liberals have been using the university for their own political purposes, including giving credit to Kamloops-South Thompson Liberal candidate Todd Stone at a law school funding announcement in October.
"I've never met Todd Stone and I've never seen him at the law school," Rankin said.
Stone is a former government appointee who sat on the university's board of governors.
Rankin also pointed to an email distributed to the law faculty last week from a local Liberal party volunteer and articling student, Alicia Glaicar, who describes herself in the email message as "a young and charismatic woman in the legal field" and a volunteer with Stone's campaign.
"I am interested in marketing directly to the (law school) students through a short 1-2 minute presentation at the beginning of your seminars," states the message to the law faculty.
"I have a small group of 4-5 young people who are willing to get in front of the class and explain the event and invite the students to attend."
The email also states the event "is not just for B.C. Liberals but is focused on getting students involved in the democratic process of voting…"
The event is an evening with Stone at Heroes Pub on campus featuring free Mountain High Pizza.
"Todd has non-TRU students coming up to promote him on campus while he's getting plugs from government," Rankin said.
Lake is a TRU faculty member on leave while in government. He said he never used university resources for campaigning.
Rankin acknowledged the university's human resources department asked him to stop using the TRU listserve. He agreed to stop, but added that he still believes such a use falls under political and academic freedom.
“It’s very strange that in an academic environment that supports political and academic freedom you can’t talk about politics — to me it’s a cheap shot.”
Lake said Stone was instrumental in bringing the law school to Kamloops.
"Micah Rankin has a job thanks to people like Todd Stone," Lake said.