After all the talk and effort to use this year’s Student Association election as a referendum to “clean up the SA,” the result seems to be a return to the status quo.
Students have successfully elected all the major players of this year’s scandals, and The Hatchet is wary of any promises that next year will be any better. The election itself has shown signs of trouble, as there is some dispute over medical student absentee ballots.
Steve Sobel edged out SA President-elect Kris Hart in the undergraduate ballots, but Hart won by garnering more of the graduate student vote, faring especially well among medical students who voted via e-mail. This is suspect, but not necessarily against the rules, since election bylaws permit a dean to allow the students of a particular school to e-mail votes if they will be away from campus during voting.
Here is where it gets what Sobel has called “shady.” Dean W. Scott Schroth allowed the School of Medicine and Health Science students to vote by e-mail on grounds they would be off campus or on hospital rounds during the election. While some may have had legitimate obligations that kept them from voting, it seems implausible that so many medical students would be scheduled for hospital rounds, which, incidentally, would be just blocks away from voting stations, during a two-day period.
The situation is further tainted by a mass e-mail sent to medical students informing them of the right to vote by e-mail that also happened to endorse Hart for president and Eric Daleo for executive vice president. Further, J.P. Blackford and Dan Moss are both returning. Blackford, who garnered two votes in the election, one of which was his own, should not assume the leadership roles he has enjoyed in his past nine terms – he resigned amidst scandal as Rules Committee chair this year. And Moss, who is president of the College Republicans, should not head the Finance Committee again with his obvious conflict of interest when allocating funds to student groups.
We hope that next year’s student government will surprise everybody and conduct an effective and transparent organization.