Tim Lim ’06, the vice president of the Student Assembly, stepped down from his post as president of the Cornell Democrats last night amid allegations of voting improprieties in last year’s student government elections and other alleged breaches of ethical conduct.
“I’m tired of fighting this, I’m tired of fighting rumors,” Lim said at yesterday’s Cornell Democrats meeting. “I’ll resign before [this year's S.A.] elections.”
Though the majority of the meeting was closed off to the media, The Sun obtained a tape of the Democrats’ discussion. The executive board was unaware that the meeting was being recorded.
“I would love to at least wait one week [before coming to a decision],” he said. “But this is a lot of people raising their hands, saying things about me; I haven’t had a chance to organize my supporters and have them speak in my defense.”
The charges against Lim were made by Democrat executive board members Mitch Fagen ’07, Victoria Lauterbach ’06 and Jamie Gullen ’07.
Two other executive members also resigned last night. They were Nina Fixell ’07, the group’s director of public relations, and Heather Grantham ’06, director of community relations. Grantham said that she “resigned in protest at the lack of integrity of the proceedings.” Grantham is a Sun columnist. The Sun was unable to reach Fixell for comment in time for publication.
“According to Cornell Democrats’ constitution, the elected members of the executive board have the right to remove [Lim] by a unanimous vote,” said Fagen, the vice president of the group, during the open part of the meeting. “We’ve decided it needs to be done.”
Lauterbach, the group’s executive of fundraising, said Lim forced his fraternity’s pledges to go around collecting netIDs and PINs, which were then allegedly used to boost the number of votes for Lim’s entire ticket.
Lim told The Sun that this accusation was untrue.
“What I did say is, go to your friends’ door and make sure they voted,” he said. He also questioned why Lauterbach has “been sitting on this until the elections.”
Gullen also spoke out against Lim during the closed portion of the meeting.
She said that in last year’s Cornell Democrats elections, she had been voted in as treasurer and throughout the year she was kept away from the club finances and was told not to worry about them and that everything “was taken care of.”
She later found Steve Grossman ’07 listed as the group’s treasurer on the Student Activities Office’s page for the group. Currently, Randy Lariar ’08 is listed as the treasurer on the website.
“I think I made a mistake here,” Lim later told The Sun about his decision to switch treasurers mid-term. “I had brought it up with Jamie, and she said she didn’t have a problem with it to me. Nobody [in the executive board] was sticking to a set of rigid duties they had to follow.”
“I really feel like this was a private issue between myself and three of the other e-board members,” Lim told The Sun. “I really think all four of us should step aside for new leadership for the good of the club.”
He also said that he felt that the attack had been orchestrated.
“I came to that meeting and I saw 20 or 30 people that I had never seen before,” he said. “There were at least 20 people that I did not recognize as coming to a meeting this semester.”
Lim said that he had no idea that the other executive board members were about to accuse him of breaches of ethical conduct.
“I really hope this doesn’t adversely affect the chapter [of Cornell Democrats],” he said.
Fagan told The Sun that “we just felt, and I just felt, that there was no room for this type of corruption in the Cornell Democrats. I’m a Democrat because I believe that elections should be fair and should be honest. I believe that this kind of thing disgraces the party and is wrong, and this is why we felt we had to come out with what we knew to be the truth.”
In an e-mail written last night to the Cornell Democrats mailing list, Lim wrote that “it has become apparent that the personal differences among e-board members have become too large to be resolved in a private manner.”
He said that the current executive board would be dissolved, with new elections to be held on March 16.
Archived article by Michael Morisy
Sun Senior Writer