By: Josh Leichter  | 

Say the Right Things when Electioneering

I would like to preface the following piece with two statements: 1. I bear no ill will toward the Election Committee or the Student Supreme Court and 2. I am currently vying for a spot on the ballot in the upcoming Student Council election.

As we are all aware by now, the reality of our semester on campus has been radically changed on account of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The results of this are far-reaching, from forcing our classes to switch to an online platform to changing the venue of the upcoming graduation ceremony in May. One new issue that has begun to boil on the stoves of our newly minted virtual campus is that of the upcoming student elections. Under normal circumstances, students would be expected to lobby for signatures from “one-third or five hundred members of the student body, whichever is less,” as dictated clearly in Article III 3(3) of the Wilf Constitution. As a result of the campus’ closure, it would be impossible for the prospective candidates to get physical signatures, so the ballot petitions have switched to an online form. 

The argument has now been raised that due to these extraordinary conditions, perhaps a new amendment should be drafted to accommodate the situation. The reasoning behind this was that it is far harder for prospective candidates to campaign for and receive signatures when all they can do is send out a link in an email, which can easily be ignored.  An attempt to change this occurred on April 2nd when a proposal was written to lower the threshold from the aforementioned numbers to “five percent of the student body or fifty students, whichever is less,” yet the Student Supreme Court in their ruling on April 5th rejected the proposal on the grounds that the submission did not follow the proper protocols and “rules are still rules.” 

This argument and clear rejection by the Student Supreme Court raises an important question over the role the system plays. In the United States, the Constitution is a deified document of strength whose sole purpose is to defend the rights of every citizen in the country, not to suppress them. With this in mind, if members of this Student Body choose to dress up and play politics with their own Constitution and Supreme Court, then they have failed in their understanding of what the intention and purpose should be, as they have chosen to side against the People. Right now, in these difficult times, rules are being bent and accommodations are being made to reasonable degrees so that people can have an easier time leading their day-to-day lives. If those in power fail to understand this, then it would not be outlandish to make the case for their impeachment and removal from their appointed positions. 

The purpose of the government is to have the best interests of the constituents in mind — not to blindly follow rules that exist to the detriment of the public. We often say that government is of the People, by the People and for the People, yet when we see leaders choose bureaucratic rules as opposed to a collective voice of students, it indicates that these officials have become derelict in their duties. The solution to this would be to put a new group of legislators in place to ensure that the government is fulfilling their responsibilities in representing the students fairly, while still maintaining order and not creating a lawless society where rules don’t matter.  

Sadly, this is simply repeating a cycle of events that we have unfortunately seen far too often over the past few years, where elected leaders have put their own self-serving interests ahead of the voices of those that got them their seats at the table. But real leaders are not the ones that abstain from votes or curtail voices of the public. If history books have taught us one lesson, it’s that we never look favorably upon those that ignore the will of the people. Only those that stand up for what they know in their hearts to be right and remain steadfast in their beliefs despite adversity ultimately emerge as true inspirations to their successors. 

We have yet to see this, but I hope that the decision-makers understand that their response to the request will not go ignored. I hope that you, the students, will remember this when you receive that email on May 7 with instructions on how to vote, whether or not many of the candidates’ names are on the ballot.  

Photo Caption: The argument has now been raised that due to these extraordinary conditions, perhaps a new Amendment should be drafted to accommodate the situation.
Photo Credit: The Commentator