March 13, 2001

Last-Minute Challenges Fail

Print More

The announcement of Leslie Barkemeyer ’03 as the winner in the student-elected trustee race yesterday brought closure to a four-day period during which the victor’s campaign procedures were called into question.

The Trustee Nominating Committee (TNC), which oversees the student trustee election, received two written challenges to the campaign process last week. One, submitted by James Lamb ’03, Student Assembly (S.A.) undesignated representative at-large, contended that endorsement meetings held before the official start of campaigning constituted a violation of elections rules.

The TNC concluded that the meetings were not sufficiently outside the election guidelines to warrant anything more than a warning, reported Prof. William Fry, faculty trustee and chair of the Trustee Nominating Committee, adding that at least one warning was given.

The first challenge was submitted by Jennifer Fang ’03 and co-signed by trustee candidates Emanuel Tsourounis II ’00 and Evan Lupion ’03, as well as S.A. candidates Cecilia Dobbs ’02, Marc Waase ’02, Ray Beninato ’03, Courtney Tawresey ’03, and Ryan M. Horn ’02.

The second objection claimed that some candidates violated campaign regulations by not accounting for newspapers in their campaign expenses. Two newspapers supported with Student Activity Finance Committee funds, The Cornell Observer and Turn Left, endorsed candidates and were handed out by supporters. The challenge asserted that if the cost of the newspapers was included in campaign expenses, it would exceed the allowed amount of $100 per trustee candidate and thus violate the rules.

“We could not confirm that [allegation],” Fry said. “The rules are ambiguous, and people interpreted them in different ways.”

Following the decision and the 3:00 p.m. announcement yesterday of Barkemeyer’s election, Fang remained dissatisfied with the committee’s action.

“It seems to me that what the TNC is saying is you can do whatever you want; as long as there’s enough ambiguity, you can get away with it, and you can win,” Fang said.

Archived article by Heather Schroeder