April 11, 2018

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Elections Committee on Election Outcome

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To the Editor:

We’d like to start by thanking all who participated in this election. It has been a long cycle for the candidates, members of the Elections Committee and the student body as a whole. As we come to a conclusion, the Elections Committee would like to address concerns that have been brought up during this process. Before we begin, we must make it clear that we are bound by confidentiality regarding specifics around candidate challenges. Because of this, we cannot directly address the veracity of all claims brought up regarding this election, but we will do what we can. We made the choice (and were individually confirmed by the Student Assembly based on our qualifications) to serve the Cornell community and to uphold the election rules as approved unanimously by the Student Assembly at the end of the Fall 2017 semester (available at this link, on desktop or mobile).

First, we want to address the claims that the members of the Elections Committee have acted in a biased and unethical manner. Throughout all of our discussions, the current members of the Elections Committee have had no knowledge of the results of the election. Every current committee member has acted with integrity and interpreted the rules to the best of their ability. No body of rules can perfectly encompass every situation, and the events that occurred during this cycle were far beyond the scope of those imagined by the framers of our regulations. The charge of the committee is to interpret and uphold the elections rules as they are written, regardless of how the decision is perceived. As such, our decisions were not made frivolously; they were the product of long hours of deliberation and debate between members.

Next, we’d like to address the confusion regarding the use of the Cornell logo in promotional materials. As per the election rules, the use of the Cornell insignia or logo on any promotional materials is prohibited. All candidates and supporters who have a clearly established connection to an election campaign, such as being a member of a candidate’s campaign team, must comply with this rule. Furthermore, the committee is not an investigatory body. Our mission is to adjudicate the challenges that are brought to us in compliance with the process and within the timeline established by the election rules. Claims that the committee is applying rules unequally across candidates reflect a misunderstanding of the organization’s purpose. If violations were found on the part of candidates, it is the onus of the overall community as an informed body politic to bring these to the committee’s attention.

Finally, the vote tally of the disqualified candidate will be nullified and struck from the record by the Office of Assemblies. As such, the specific breakdown of the votes that each candidate received for the presidential race will not be released to the candidates, the Elections Committee, the Student Assembly or the Cornell community. We strongly encourage all Cornellians to fully respect the incoming Assembly and provide them with your support. We would like to thank our committee chairperson (and Director of Elections), Travis Cabbell ’18, for guiding us through this process. Though he is a non-voting member of the committee, he has borne the majority of public scrutiny towards the organization and has maintained his decorum and commitment in spite of
mounting external pressure.

It has been a pleasure to serve our fellow Cornellians.

Student Assembly Elections Committee Voting Members:
Ethan Anderson ’18
Noah Chovanec ’18
Clady Corona ’19
Lucy Yi Lin ’20
Terrill Malone ’21
Shreya Mantrala ’18
Jenna Oliver ’20
Alexis Pollitto ’18
Chasen Richards ’19