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Honor Council elections flawed

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February 23, 2008

3:27 PM

p. I cast a blank ballot in the Honor Council election earlier this week because I did not support the elections held Tuesday.

p. There are multiple reasons behind this.

p. First and foremost, the Honor Council has failed to uphold its own bylaws. According to the latest version of the bylaws available on the Honor Council website, it is supposed to begin promoting the election approximately one month prior to the election. The first relevant e-mail that I could find in my inbox (understanding that aside from pure spam I delete almost nothing) is from Feb. 4 (15 days ago).

p. Additionally, the bylaws presented on the Honor Council website (at least at the time I wrote this column) state that “The Nomination Form is due two (2) weeks after the last information meeting.” The final meeting was Feb. 6. Therefore, in order to meet this requirement, the Honor Council would have had to make the forms due the day following the date of elections.
In addition to the form due date not meeting the requirements set out in its bylaws on its website, the Honor Council rejected forms that were turned in within half an hour of the deadline that it provided, in the interest of fairness.

p. By the rules that the Honor Council has provided for the public, it has failed to meet its own requirements for the election. Currently, there is a bill before the Student Assembly senate to vote no confidence in the Honor Council elections. Yet, on the Honor Council election ballot, there is no way to voice disgust with the procedures used and, because of the ban on campaigning, there is no way to work to change the system.

p. The Honor Council has set itself above public accountability. With all of the shouting about accountability in the last week regarding the Board of Visitors’ decision not to retain Gene Nichol as president, it sets a sorry precedent when one of the most important organizations at this great school — one with the power of expulsion over students — places itself above public accountability.

p. It does this both by denying students the ability to fight for changes that they see necessary to the system and by violating its own rules without apparent consequence.

p. I did not cast a blank ballot against the individuals running, for many of them are fine individuals. I cast a blank set of ballots against a system that places itself above accountability and reduces a solemn election from an informed decision to a glorified contest of name recognition.

p. The elections have been so sufficiently mishandled that they are currently facing a vote of no confidence in the senate, something virtually unprecedented in the College’s history and a sign of how poorly they have been handled. I sincerely lack confidence in this year’s Honor Council elections feeling that the system is deeply flawed.

p. __Cliff Dunn is a junior at the College.__

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