College Council bylaws violated

It is with great hesitation that I respond to Ricardo Woolery’s op-ed, printed in the Record last week. Although I didn’t want to continue this debate beyond the elections (and the term of the ESC), I have been frustrated and hurt by the manipulative and confrontational tone of his piece. I write this with a desire to put the discussion into context.

About three weeks ago, an e-mail was sent to the MinCo listserve from Gerry Lindo ’04. In it he wrote, “only two people are running for two positions [as MinCo reps to College Council], only one of whom is a minority.” The implication was that I was not a minority, which is false. I am openly gay, and in accordance with the requirements of the position, I “self-identify” as a minority. Lindo has since apologized for his lack of research and hastiness in making such a claim, and I have accepted this apology. The e-mail, though, spurred members of MinCo who were concerned by the prospect of a non-minority CC rep into action. Three potential write-in candidates petitioned the Elections Supervisory Committee (ESC) and were given places in the nominations packet. The ESC made a mistake.

In the CC bylaws, there are three sections which I believe need to be examined in this case. The bylaws state, “The committee [ESC] shall ensure that self-nominations are solicited and advertised for at least three weeks before the first day of elections.” Therefore, in order to become a nominee, one must submit a self-nomination within three weeks of the beginning of the elections.

The bylaws continue, “The committee shall be responsible for publishing the nomination package and shall ensure that it is distributed at least three days before the first day of elections.” The nominations packet, it is implied, should consist only of officially recognized nominations. The fact that three people who were not officially nominated were included in the packet is highly problematic, and I questioned the logic of the ESC’s decision.

In response, the committee sought to legitimize its actions, citing a clause in bylaws dealing with campaigning by the candidates (not the section dealing with officially sponsored publications and activities) that reads, “If a write-in candidacy occurs, he/she/they shall be considered a valid candidate and shall be treated as such.”

However, by citing this clause, the ESC contradicts itself.

Obviously write-ins are valid candidates, but they are not nominees. The nominations packet and JOSE are reserved for those candidates who submit self-nominations. By an extension of the ESC’s logic, anyone can be included in the packet or on JOSE at any time. But of course, this isn’t feasible, which is why we have a nominations process – a process that the ESC circumvented.

My position on the ESC being understood, I would like to address some of the more contemptuous of Woolery’s claims. He claims that my campaign against the ESC was a “manipulative, ill-spirited and arrogant challenge of the legitimacy of the write-in candidates for the MinCo rep position.” That is simply not true. Either Woolery failed to grasp the implications of the ESC’s decision or he seeks to misrepresent what I and many others had to say. Never, in the course of my discussions with the ESC did I say anything that could be construed as an assault on the legitimacy of the three write-in candidates. On the contrary, my arguments were directed at the ESC for its flawed logic and misguided decision. My only requests were for the ESC to republish the elections packet, and for the ESC to acknowledge its error in order to avoid setting a troublesome precedent.

Finally, I would like to address the issue of my late self-nomination, which was used by Woolery and the ESC in a manipulative attempt to discredit the legitimacy of my complaint and campaign. I fully admit that my self-nomination was one hour late. Being three thousand miles away and having a five-hour time difference to contend with, it was an oversight that I regret, yet the decision of the ESC to let me run was in compliance with the CC bylaws. Despite my tardiness, my self-nomination was received within three weeks of the start of the elections; therefore, my allowance was one which the ESC could legally make. The self-nominations of the write-in candidates came at least four days after three-week deadline had passed, and therefore the decision by the ESC to allow them into the packet was a blatant violation of the bylaws. Given that the ESC’s only reason for existence is to see that the bylaws are followed, the decision to allow individuals into the nominations packet was a breach of their duties.

At the end of the day, this was not about discrimination, nor was any one candidate trying to unfairly hurt another. My problem was and continues to be that the ESC overstepped its bounds. It is my hope that when Council reconvenes, it will take up this case, and state its opposition to a breach of its bylaws by the subservient ESC.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *