March 7, 2003

S.A. Elections Draw More Controversy

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The controversy surrounding the Student Assembly (S.A.) elections continued to intensify yesterday as members of the S.A.’s elections committee deliberated over contested races.

Every race was challenged yesterday except one, and the group of students charged with determining the validity of these challenges consisted on Wednesday of four members of the S.A.: Director of Elections Leslie Barkemeyer ’03, Noah Doyle ’03, Josh Roth ’03 and Jay Greenberg ’03. However, Barkemeyer added another member to the committee yesterday, Michael Sellman ’04.

According to Nick Linder ’05, a member of the Students for Students coalition, the appointment of Sellman yesterday was an attempt by the Cornell Democrats to turn the contested elections to their favor. According to Linder, Barkemeyer and Doyle have in the past voted in favor of Democratic candidates while Roth and Greenberg have not always done so. Sellman, a member of the Cornell Democrats, according to Linder, could tip the committee in the Democrats’ favor.

“I was a little surprised,” said Greenberg, who previously ran on the Cornell Democrats ticket but described himself as “very open-minded.”

According to Erica Kagan ’05, the current LGBTQ liaison to the S.A. and a member of the Cornell Democrats, the charge that Sellman would definitively vote with the Democrats was “definitely false.”

“I don’t think that he voted with the Cornell Democrats just because they were the Cornell Democrats,” Kagan said.

Linder also opposed the appointment of Sellman because he said it was in violation of a bylaw found in the S.A. charter. Bylaw 7.6.a.3 reads, “Membership [of the elections committee] shall include voting S.A. members who are seniors.” Sellman is currently neither of those.

However, according to Kagan, when the committee is not full “then it is within the S.A. charter for [Barkemeyer]” to add a member. She also said that Sellman was the S.A.’s vice president for internal operations last year and had served on the elections committee before.

The tentative results of the elections held Monday and Tuesday gave 11 seats to the Students for Students coalition, seven seats to candidates endorsed by the Democrats and one seat to a candidate representing the Real Needs Coalition.

“Seeing the numbers, only seven candidates endorsed by the Democrats had won, and I guess they can’t face it. This seems like a last-ditch effort,” Linder said.

Archived article by Mackenzie Damon