As my second year on the Elections Commission comes to an end, I feel that now is the appropriate time to publicly reflect on my branch of Student Government. I’ve only witnessed two Executive Board elections in my tenure, but I can see the apparent trends. I’ve served as chairman for one semester, but I can see problems in the bureaucratic machine. I’m young, not oblivious.
Somehow this notion that candidates are just petty, bickering individuals who file against each other has been promulgated through every channel of student life. Maybe I’m biased and naïve. But, in my capacity as chairman, I get to know the candidates as more than candidates. My job affords me the privilege of seeing the stress and hardship of putting community before self, and gives me the ability to witness the struggle and hardship to file against fellow student leaders.
It’s never easy for candidates to file violations of the Elections Codes against each other. I know how hard it is because I have to sit with candidates and explain the severity of accusing your peers of
violating the legal doctrine that protects the integrity and authority of the office that they seek. I’m the one who has to determine the probable cause of the alleged violation, which isn’t easy either.
SG elections aren’t easy for any party involved, and I don’t think they should be. The elections are moments when the heart of our university is put forth for the entire world to see. If I ever thought the process of running for office robbed individuals and the UM community of student leaders, I would abandon my position. If I ever thought that the actions of my branch of SG created an atmosphere of finger-pointing and acrimony, I would leave and not look back.
UM should be a beacon of light on the hill for the entire world to marvel at. It should be a testament to compassion and understanding. If we are to accomplish any of those goals, we need to work together, and stop blaming and spreading disinformation about the most rich and rewarding system on campus.
J. Alexander Barletto, Sophomore
Chairman of the Elections Commission