After a presentation from the co-chairs of the Committee on Organizational Structures in the Social Sciences explaining the proposal, assembly members raised concerns about the potential merger of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the College of Human Ecology.
The time has come to place the responsibility for the conduct of all shared-governance elections in the hands of the University Assembly. Shared governance dates back to 1969 with the Constituent Assembly and then the University Senate — both of which were composed of students, faculty and staff. So for many years, campus elections were in joint student, faculty and staff hands. As with the Campus Code of Conduct and judicial system, elections are appropriately a joint student-faculty-staff responsibility. Election problems detract from the reputation of Cornell’s shared governance model, and students, faculty and staff should work together to avoid future problem.
The student assembly called a special meeting for 5 p.m. on Friday to discuss the controversial S.A. presidential election, in which one of two candidates was disqualified for a meme posted by a member of his campaign.
The Elections Committee’s refusal to comply with the ruling of the judicial codes counselor in the Varun Devatha ’19 disqualification case is direly unfortunate and demonstrates an embarrassing lack of regard for reason on the part of our student government. Furthermore, it represents an impractical and dangerous seizure of power by a small, unelected council, and the public statement from the members of the committee does little to inspire any confidence in that body’s decision to uphold Devatha’s disqualification for violating election rules regulating promotional materials. We iterate once more how patently absurd it is to believe that a “steal his look” meme so profoundly affected the fairness of the election as to merit a disqualification.Should those on Elections Committee wish to regain the trust which they have so thoroughly dispensed themselves of, they must immediately release all documentation relating to the Devatha case, beginning with the initial challenge to the campaign, all the way through their assessment of the Judicial Codes Counselor opinion and their final report — including their assessment of why they believe they, rather than the JCC, have final authority on the matter. If the committee is so confident in its decision, let it argue it in front of the students which it serves. The committee’s statement references the responsibilities of “the overall community as an informed body politic” — and yet such an invocation rings hollow when the committee refuses to inform the body politic! If the committee is going to risk overturning the democratically expressed will of the people, they should do so openly.