What an astounding turn of events – suddenly S.A.C. and Gauchoholics were holding hands and campaigning together, and their partisan hostility turned toward the new Student Unity Now party. Also, while I was going over the complaint forms that were turned in to the Elections Committee, I found that all of the complaints were directed at S.U.N. More importantly, most of these complaints were either irrelevant, did not pertain to the Elections Code or seemed more like personal attacks on the S.U.N. party.
Okay, so S.A.C. and Gauchoholics claim they have overcome their long history of partisan bickering and worked together to get out the vote, however they neglected to stop directing their attacks on the S.U.N. party. When I asked Ginger Gonzaga, the liaison for S.U.N., about addressing their grievances, Ms. Gonzaga decided to be the better person by letting it go and not filing any formal complaints. Meanwhile, Randall Wright, the Gauchoholic candidate for A.S. president, came to the Legislative Council meeting last week to provide his view on the election. Although I admire Mr. Wright’s effort toward reaching a bipartisan agreement, he also openly stated that the S.U.N. party ran a negative campaign, and while he applauded all the other parties for playing fair, he stopped short of mentioning S.U.N.
But it is hard to say that the union between S.A.C. and Gauchoholics is actually sincere. While S.A.C. and Gauchoholic members on the Legislative Council have disputed appointments and nominations – the most recent being Scott McDowell – over the past year, Ms. Gonzaga was actually the first one to cross the aisle in an attempt to end the partisan divide. She is one of the most committed members on the council; she constantly fights for the environment by writing legislation to make sure all buildings comply with the same green standard as the new Bren School. She went up to Sacramento the night after the paper campaign started and lobbied for student rights and a decrease in student fees. While working with the Academic Affairs Board, she fought changes to G.E. requirements that would eliminate ethnic and non-western studies. It was frustrating to listen to people attacking her and her party for taking credit from them, when they were the ones who jumped on the bandwagon of her legislation and hard work.
I am not trying to promote her in any way, and she did not ask me to write this article. Furthermore, it would do her no good for me to list her achievements now, since she already lost her election. But it bothers me when some groups claim that they learned to work in a bipartisan manner, yet continue to direct hostility toward a third party. It seems that S.A.C. and Gauchoholics, the two older parties, were fearful of S.U.N. and its new brand of “progress over partisan” politics. For this, Ms. Gonzaga deserves credit for forming a party overnight that was able to contend with the two institutional parties on campus.
As an observer of this election and a member on the Elections Committee, I want to state that I tried my best to monitor this electoral process fairly. I only did what was allowed in the Associated Students Constitution and By-Laws. This is why I’m upset over the number of complaints that were directed toward Ms. Gonzaga and her party. While there was concern about e-mail spamming by the S.U.N. party, Ms. Gonzaga could not be blamed since she does not have control over the freedom of expression of the members of her party. Finally, I end by addressing that I am not against S.A.C. or Gauchoholics. I wish all the newly elected executive officers and legislative representatives the best of luck regardless of their party affiliation. I just wanted everyone to reflect on their own actions before pointing fingers.
Edward Yan is a senior political science major, an on-campus representative and an at-large member on the Elections Committee.