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Experiencing Success

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The personal attacks and property damage that Mr. Ebersol has been subjected to are deplorable by any account. These actions, though perpetrated by a minority of our students, are an embarrassment nevertheless.

Beyond that issue, I cannot agree with the pro-Ebersol letters to the editor of the last two days. The underlying bitterness of these articles exuded the condescension that “Notre Dame, you don’t know what’s good for you,” and could only explain the election results on superficial grounds, such as Mr. Ebersol’s current mode of transportation and the apparent sentiment that “he’s not nice.” However, I do not dispute that those disappointing claims are certainly true to some extent.

Nevertheless, as an informed student and former office-holder, I find these insinuations insulting, not to mention arrogant, when applied in blanket fashion to the entire voting constituency. They assume that, aside from these shallow considerations, it would not be possible to cast one’s vote in another, less-experienced direction. I’d like to briefly suggest why this sentiment is false.

My electoral observations lead me to believe that experience benefits candidates for two reasons: 1) it teaches the potential candidate how to work within the system and 2) it gives the candidate an opportunity to “prove” their aptitude for further service and subsequently “earn” positions of greater responsibility.

Mr. Ebersol has held a major student government position for almost one year, but experience does not necessarily equal success.

I would like to suggest to his supporters that it is possible that many informed individuals evaluated his record of service and decided not to vote for him – shocking, I know. To the majority of the student body, Ebersol’s term in SUB has been marked by misadventures such as the UM football ticket lottery and the costly David Spade show.

Furthermore, I don’t recall attending one “Top 40 concert” this year, let alone the two that were promised. It has been my experience that many people are not satisfied with his performance in the past year.

If voters are dissatisfied with a candidate’s past performance, it is probable that they would not be willing to essentially “promote” that individual to the highest office a student can hold.

By all counts, this was the weakest field I have observed in four elections. There was a definitive lack of experience, with the exception of the Ebersol/Leito ticket. Past experience certainly adds a degree of certainty to a voter’s decision. However, based on the past term, I believe that the kind of certainty that Mr. Ebersol provided was not necessarily of the sort that begs for a repeat performance.

Of course, it is always more of a gamble to vote for an unproven individual. However, implicit assumptions of incompetence are also unfair and unwarranted at this time. Istvan/Bell will have the chance to prove themselves worthy – or otherwise – soon enough. I, for one, am interested to see how they will do.

Kevin ConleyseniorStanford Hall Feb. 17