The co-president of the Black Student Union expressed his dissatisfaction with Student Association election rules on the heels of a walkout by four black SA senators last week.
BSU Co-President Charles Basden sent an e-mail to student leaders early Thursday morning urging them to stand up against the Joint Elections Commission charter and keep the SA from “pushing forward an unfounded, hidden agenda.” On Tuesday evening, the Senate approved online voting and the abolishment of slates for the spring general elections, which prompted the walkout by Sens. Eugene Beckley (CCAS-U), OG Oyiborhoro (CCAS-U), Jasmine Gaskins (ESIA-U) and Eric Woodard (CCAS-U).
“I think there is a strong opposition that could be indicative of a larger student response,” Basden said in an interview with The Hatchet.
He added, “I propose the SA use all things in its power in developing subtle changes to the JEC charter. My job was to inform the larger community about these changes.”
SA Executive Vice President Brand Kroeger said that the election rules that the Senate approved on Tuesday need to be implemented for the upcoming election.
“We’ve been dealing with the same system for years and it hasn’t worked,” Kroeger said.
Basden said there were major problems associated with online voting and the eradication of slates.
“The JEC (charter) is disenfranchising,” Basden said. “It was developed without student input.”
Basden said the Senate did not listen to the concerns of some students and instead were guided by Student Activities Director Tim Miller, who is the SA adviser. Miller said SAC will not support anything but an online election.
“I think that Tim in his dual role as director of SAC and SA adviser should be careful in the way he make statements,” Basden said. “It is an abuse of power. It is strengthening the idea of a hidden agenda.”
Kroeger said Miller should be allowed to express his support of online voting.
“Tim and SAC have been instrumental in running these elections for years,” he said. “There is no one who has had more involvement.”
Although he is not against online voting, Basden said that candidates could exploit the system.
“You have a . situation where candidates could go door to door and force students to vote a certain way,” Basden said.
Kroeger said he does not see a problem with online voting.
“It brings more people into voting,” Kroeger said. “If you bring a computer into a dorm room, it engages more people.”
The eradication of slates could hinder the ability of some students to run a campaign, Basden said.
“Voting is the will of people,” he said. “Objectively speaking the SA should have no incentive to influence the slate.”
He added, “As long I have the option to vote for an independent, it is fair.”
Sen. Kevin Kozlowski (U-At Large), chair of the rules committee, said that the SA should not revert to the way it behaved in the past.
Kozlowski said, “Getting rid of slates and progressing to online voting are steps in the right direction, moving us forward from the old Student Association days of petty infighting and bickering.”