Only human, only students
Letter to the Editor | Thursday, February 8, 2018
In response to the “We Deserve Much Better” letter to the editor by David Carmack, I just had a few points that I wanted to make, as I was a senator last year and feel like I can give some input into the situation.
Carmack mentions that the allegations against Alex and Julia are “blatant misconduct,” as they did not explicitly state that the administration of this University were not endorsing the campaign. Just by stating that they have worked with administration in the past in their roles as student leaders on campus doesn’t necessarily mean that they were using them as an endorsement. In talking to other students about this issue, they thought that the candidates were just mentioning the administration that they had worked with in the past to “name drop for the sake of name dropping,” not that they were stating that these administrators were endorsing them. It would only be “blatant” if they specifically stated that the administrators were endorsing them. Sure, Alex and Julia should have put explicitly that they aren’t being endorsed by the administration, but they’re only human, they didn’t see that this could be an issue later on.
I would also like to reiterate that Rohit Fonseca’s allegation and sanctions had no impact on the election results. If you look at the breakdown of the votes, Becca Blais’ ticket, even without removing the votes from the sanction, still had over 50 percent of the votes, which is the amount to win the election. Granted, I am of the belief that nobody should have votes taken from them, as it diminishes everyone who voted for that candidate and takes away their voice. But, that the five-hour, emergency senate meeting that we had is five hours of my life that I will never have back (five hours of studying that could have been done before an exam), had no impact on the imminent results of the election was frustrating to say the least.
As a senator, I was not happy to be called into an emergency senate meeting. However, I was happy to represent my hall’s opinions on the issue of the election misconduct. I was actually happy to vote to close the senate meeting, as it allowed senate to have a discussion about the issue at hand, without social repercussions based on the opinions of the senators. The results of these closed-door senate meetings can impact the student body as a whole, so in order to avoid being alienated by peers based on what is said in a senate meeting, to avoid being coerced into an opinion based on social pressures, I think it’s genuinely a good thing. However, I don’t think that the minutes of these meetings should be kept secret until the next term senators vote to release them. I think they should be anonymized (for the discretion of the senators) and published to keep a level of transparency. Some do see the closed senate meetings as a bad thing, with the opposite opinion of mine, that closing the doors allows for more personal views, rather than the views of their constituents. I do hear you on that, except that as a senator you are sworn in to uphold the views of your constituents. If you believe that the personal opinions will get the best of the people whom you elect, and if you believe that the oath they take means nothing to them, then maybe you voted for the wrong candidate in that senatorial election.
Back to my experiences last year, Blais’ campaign might not have been the cleanest, with rumors floating that she promised cabinet positions to people; the same rumors still float around about campaigns promising cabinet positions to people, which is against the constitution (as considered unethical behavior to attempt to gain more votes). I remember having a long discussion with some senators about this at this time last year, which makes this rumor all the more frustrating for me to stomach. Of course, there is no proof of this; there was no proof against Becca last year either. All it could be is a rumor, and we may never know the truth.
Maybe the sanctions against the Gates-Corey campaign were too tough on breaking an alleged rule. Two hours of campaign time punished? The senate meeting lasted longer. On a Friday night. And when faced with having to abandon all commitments on yet another Friday night regarding yet another allegation, we have to give credit to the anonymous senators that did show up for that second meeting, only to have their time wasted as they waited for quorum. Alex and Julia also had their time wasted during this process, as they were waiting at the senate meeting too. Maybe that was punishment enough for their misconduct.
Let’s give people a little credit. Let’s give credit to our senators, who sat through hours and hours of meetings, passing resolution after resolution to get to where we are now. Let’s give credit to the leaders of senate, who made leaps and bounds to change senate over the past couple of years. It’s only human to make mistakes, and both candidates have made their fair share of mistakes. We’re only humans, all three candidates are only humans and only students, and to say that we deserve much better diminishes all of the hard work that people on student government put in, on top of being a full-time student. Not everything can change in a year’s term, but it’s the little things that really help make all of the difference.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.