I will likely make many enemies for writing this column. That said, the story which I am about to recount to you involves actions so heinous and so utterly impolitic that I have no choice but to expose those responsible and get the hell out of the way before this shit hits the fan.
I am writing to recount the events that led to the most revolting display of partisan politicking and disregard for the feelings of others that I have ever seen in my two years on this campus. Cervin Morris, the Students’ Party presidential nominee, had a slight issue with his eligibility in the coming election – he fell four units short of the requirement. The reason for this deficit: Morris’ grandmother, who lives in Trinidad, is battling cancer.
During Spring Quarter of last year, Morris learned of his grandmother’s condition, and though it hit him especially hard, since his grandmother raised him as child, he coped as best he could. He only received four units for the quarter.
Luckily for Morris, there was a potential remedy: A clause in the Associated Students Legal Code states that petitions contesting ineligibility can be filed in the case of “extenuating circumstances.” A petition was drafted that night and was sent to the elections committee the following morning. One problem: There is no functioning elections committee. The voting membership was never appointed. The petition moved on to A.S. Legislative Council.
I was confident that the discussion would be minimal and painless; there was definitely a right and wrong way to vote on the issue. I trusted everyone to understand their friend’s situation and act accordingly. My trust was misplaced.
During the discussion, Student Action Coalition (S.A.C.) representatives were rude, callous, and completely insensitive. Members of the audience who had come to speak on Morris’ behalf were disrespected and berated. Proxies were planted. Individuals who had been illegally allowed to take a quarter off due to their own personal issues spoke for several minutes on the need to stick to the words in the Legal Code. Representatives running for re-election claimed that allowing Morris to run would be unfair to other ineligible candidates who, despite the availability of the option to petition, had neglected to do so. Several individuals even had the audacity to exclaim that the situation involving Morris’ grandmother did not count as an “extenuating circumstance,” and that he should have planned to take more units to make up for his deficit!
When the votes were cast, the count ended with 10 – including at least two people who are running for positions on next year’s council – against, and 11 in favor of allowing Morris to run. I have decided not to list names here, but it should be noted that with the exception of one individual, every member of S.A.C. voted against allowing Morris to run. The vote was cast on party lines, for purely political reasons. Remarkably, the vitriol continues!
After the vote was held, S.A.C. presidential candidate Fernando Ramirez, who was seated in the audience, began to argue with the chair that the vote had been improperly conducted. The arguing among the S.A.C. reps continued for another couple of minutes, and after the issue was closed, the S.A.C. members in the audience left the room. It suddenly dawned on me that these individuals were not present to witness the standard procedures of a Leg Council meeting; rather, they were shuttled in to view what S.A.C. hoped to be the invalidation of Morris’ candidacy! Oops!
Well, my congratulations go out to you, Ramirez, and the rest of you who smeared your friend and colleague for your own personal gain and for your noble attempt to subvert the democratic process and deny the students the option of voting for the man who I would argue is the most qualified to serve as president of A.S. I bet you’re pissing your pants about now. Hell, if I had to run against Morris, I sure would!
Adam Graff is a junior microbiology major.