College Council (CC) postponed a decision scheduled for last week on who will replace Mark Rosenthal ’03 as CC co-president in the spring. The delay was caused by the withdrawal of Jonathan Pahl ’03, a finalist for the position.
Pahl’s opponent, Scott Grinsell ’04, remained in the race but, as CC considers its options for dealing with the complication, has not been selected to replace Rosenthal.
Pahl’s decision also sparked a discussion at the last meeting that some members characterized as premature jockeying for the official election of new CC officers in the spring.
Pahl said he no longer wished to be considered for President due to an illness that would keep him from “devoting the necessary time and energy to the position.” He said that he had hoped to return to campus fully recovered but was still not feeling entirely healthy.
Pahl’s resignation appeared to open the door for his opponent, Grinsell, to be named co-president.
Some CC members suggested that Grinsell’s appointment was opposed by some Council members who were concerned that he may gain an advantage in the spring presidential election if he were to become the interim co-president for the next six weeks.
“I thought that it was a little suspicious that the biggest proponents of postponing the decision were members of council that will be eligible to run for co-president in this spring’s election.Â I don’t think that a single member of CC from the class of 2003, and thus ineligible to run, favored delaying the decision,” CC representative Hall O’Donnell ’03 said.
CC Secretary Chin Ho ’04 agreed that any underclassman filling the position for the next six weeks of the term would have an advantage in the elections for next year. “It will give him publicity of a sort that he would never get and . . . in any sort of election, incumbents have a big advantage.Â Am I worried about it?Â Very slightly.Â I’m more concerned about who will make the best replacement for Mark,” Chin Ho said.
When asked if he planned to run for president next year, Chin Ho replied: “We’ll see.” Grinsell and CC Treasurer Mike Henry ’04 â€“ another member of CC some have said was vocally in favor of postponing a vote â€“ similarly expressed some interest, but made no commitments.
“I haven’t decided if I’m going to run in the spring,” Grinsell said. “I have thought about it and I’m still considering it, but if I get Mark’s job, I will throw myself into it. I don’t know that I would have the time or the inclination to run again if I’m working that hard. Right now, I am only focused on the six weeks I would be in office.”
Initially, CC requested self-nominations from any student wishing to assume the vacancy. The initial applicants were narrowed down to two (Pahl and Grinsell) through a series of votes in normal CC meetings. Each of the finalists was supposed to speak at a CC meeting before CC members would select one of them by a majority vote. According to the CC constitution, this person would still need to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Council. Council members were informed of Pahl’s withdrawal prior to last Wednesday’s meeting, where they were then presented with three options: vote in Grinsell by a two-thirds majority, reconsider all of the original candidates who expressed interest or postpone the entire process until next week.
A motion was raised to vote to approve Grinsell as president. Other CC members objected to the quick nature of the decision to vote and the discussion continued. Some believed that a new co-President needed to be elected as soon as possible and that since Grinsell had won the most votes in preliminary votes, he should be installed immediately. Others believed that the original candidates should all be given new consideration and that it was unwise to make such an important decision without full deliberation.
Many Council members wished to attend the lectures held later that night, lending a rushed tone to the proceedings. Ultimately, the two-thirds majority needed to approve Grinsell was not met, and Ching Ho ’03, CC Co-President, moved to wait until this week to work out how the post would be filled. Opinions about the decisions made at the meeting varied.
“Most Council members were simply not ready to approve Scott without further discussion benchmarked to the other four candidates.Â With a decision of this magnitude, Council did not feel comfortable voting him in without the other four candidates given another chance,” Ho said.
Andres Schabelman ’06, a representative interested in a quick solution, agreed. “This is an issue that needs to be solved soon, but with everyone focused. No one was focused last meeting. This is an issue that needs to be solved by examining all the possibilities,” Schabelman said.
“The quick decision to vote on Scott, I think was from the members that wanted to vote Scott in.Â I think members either voted him down or abstained because they either felt rushed or did not approve of Scott,” Chin Ho ’04 said.
Henry welcomed the chance for CC representatives to talk with their constituencies about the remaining candidates, thus gaining the widest possible student input in the process. “Although the Constitution does not provide for a student election for Mark’s replacement, the student body should have as much input to this decision as possible,” Henry said.
O’Donnell believed the CC “acted very foolishly in deciding to postpone the decision.Â I think that many members were irresponsible in that they were more concerned with the speakers on campus that night than the important business at hand.”
“I was disappointed with the decision to postpone the vote mostly because I think that this process has gone on far too long. Council is starting to lose momentum,” Grinsell said.
It is likely the process used at this week’s meeting will be similar to before â€“ any candidate wishing to assume the position will be given a chance to speak, and ultimately one will be chosen through majority vote. This candidate must still be approved by a two-thirds vote.
“In the case of another failed approval, there will most likely be a vacancy,” Ching Ho said.Â