Letter To The Editor

Strong should retract claims

By David Raab '19 April 25, 2018

This past week, student government dealt with the fallout of the reckless and irresponsible decision of Interim Vice President for Student Life LeNorman Strong to inform the Rensselaer community of what he claimed were concerns from anonymous students regarding the recently-concluded GM Week 2018 Elections. I contend that his decision to send the email last Tuesday was reckless and irresponsible because he did not allow the Elections Commission to make a decision before releasing his statement. Of greatest concern, he falsely stated that the Rensselaer Union Voting Suite was compromised. 

The scant evidence he had for that bold claim was the fact that I signed onto the homepage of the Voting Suite a few times during the day at the expressed request of the Elections Commission. While he did not directly identify me to the masses, anyone with knowledge of the relevant facts can easily deduce he was talking about me in his quote about the system being “accessed by multiple students at multiple times during the day while voting was underway, certain of whom were connected to candidates standing for election.” In fact, many of my peers—including a reporter from The Poly—immediately identified me and questioned my involvement, as if I had somehow violated their trust. 

What he did not say is that the only information I could have viewed was the contents of the ballot and the number of students that voted throughout the day. All other information regarding elections results and standings was hidden behind a password—set by the Chairman of the Elections Commission upon the creation of the election—to which I was not privy. Furthermore, while at work at my co-op, I would not have access to the database of votes, as access to that database requires you to be connected to the Rensselaer network. By the time I got home, I emailed the Commission and the lead Union software engineer took away that insignificant level of access before the polls closed. That set of facts was independently confirmed by the Judicial Board and the Elections Commission during their separate hearings. 

Therefore, I call on Mr. Strong to issue a public retraction of his false claims. It would be unfortunate if his legacy as Interim Vice President was tarnished by this sinister and calculated act to discredit a legitimately-elected student government.

David Raab ’19