Letter To The Editor

Student elections disrespected

By Mark A. Palmer ’87 G’95 April 25, 2018

“‘Smells rotten’: Administrators meet with Elections Commission” says it all. The rotten smell is due to several odor contributors.

First, the Elections Commission was summoned to meet with Vice President Strong. Second, the comments made by Institute Administrators regarding the integrity of the newly elected president of the Union and former grand marshal. Third, the comments made regarding Joey/Josephine Lyons.

The Poly Editorial Board hit it on the head when they said it is up to the next Student Senate—and thus implying not the Administration—to ensure problems which occurred would not happen again.

The first odor contributor shows that Vice President Strong has no respect for student government. Were there any formal challenges filed with the Electoral Commission—The Poly did not mention any. Any decisions of the Electoral Commission can be appealed to the Judicial Board, then to the Review Board and then to the president. Circumventing this process stinks.

The second odor contributor is a conclusion without evidence that the election should be invalidated because of the actions of the newly elected president of the Union while he was grand marshal. Based on comments made by institute administrators and the newly elected president of the Union, there is not enough evidence to warrant an investigation of wrong-doing, let alone concluding the alleged wrong-doing affected the results of the election. It was definitely a landslide.

The combined odor of the above was then supplemented by what could be called an unpleasant smelling spice. The only candidate for a given position was listed by two names. I think the best solution here is to build on the newly elected Grand Marshal’s preferred name initiative. All petitions must be based on the preferred name–maybe with nicknames in parentheses.

As an alumnus, I hope that the administration will ignore preferences based on the platforms of the candidates for president of the Union and accept the vote of the students. Liking the results is irrelevant. I further hope that none of the following occurs.

Holding a new election early in the Fall Term. This is the only time a new election could take place. However, incoming freshmen have neither been on campus long enough to know the issues, nor have had significant interaction with students not approved by the administration.

Harassing students involved in the election, especially the Election Commission and the newly elected grand marshal and president of the Union during the remainder of the Spring term and over the Summer by requiring extensive meetings and correspondence. Distracting them, from end-of-the-term studying is wrong, especially given the GPA requirement for holding office. Distracting them during the Summer is either similar or could cause financial hardship (travel and time away from employment).

I feel it is bad that the administration is reducing the authority of student government. Interfering with student government elections is even worse. 

Mark A. Palmer ’87, ’95 PhD