Candidate backing debatable
March 21, 2008
Who do you endorse for Student Assembly president?
p. That seemed to be the question among many student organizations for the past two weeks as Valerie Hopkins ’09 and Adam Rosen ’09 campaigned for the SA presidential seat.
p. Endorsements and general public support have become a controversial issue since last year’s election, when The Flat Hat decided for the first time in recent history to endorse SA candidates in an editorial, supporting Zach Pilchen ’09 and Hopkins over Brad Potter ’08 and Brett Phillips ’08.
p. Potter’s campaign later contested the validity of the endorsement, bringing The Flat Hat editorial board before the Elections Commission for violating the election code. Potter’s campaign claimed that Pilchen used the endorsement as advertising and that the editorial had a monetary value that exceeded contribution limits for candidates.
p. However, the Commission cleared The Flat Hat from any violation, setting the precedent for the future. In the same manner, the paper endorsed Hopkins and Pilchen in an editorial last Friday.
p. No other campus publication has endorsed candidates.
Rosen spoke to The Flat Hat’s editorial board about his campaign goals before the Friday editorial, but told the board that he would not accept any endorsements.
p. “I simply think that the members of the editorial staff shouldn’t have any more of a say in an election than any individual voter,” Rosen said to The Flat Hat.
p. In a letter addressed to his supporters on his Facebook campaign page, Rosen criticized The Flat Hat’s endorsement process.
p. “The 5 members of the Flat Hat review board hold an unmatchable political power to handpick the winner of any election they should choose to be interested in,” Rosen wrote. “This is our campus’s smoke-filled back room, reminiscent of a time in American history where party leaders and not the people chose their nominee.”
p. The Flat Hat is not the only source of endorsement controversy. SA Sen. Matt Skibiak ’08 was recently fired from the elections commission for sending out a self-described “joke” endorsement in an e-mail to SA senators last Sunday morning at 3:17 a.m.
p. The e-mail read: “Hey y’all! Party on and I endorse Val and Zach! Probably shouldn’t say that, but whatever. I’m a senior so eff you!”
p. Skibiak said that he forgot that he meant the e-mail as a joke and that he often tries to lighten the mood, which he said had a tendency to take itself too seriously.
p. “Frankly I think the fallout from a little joke has been absolute bullshit and is indicative of the childish nature of the Senate and how seriously they take themselves,” Skibiak said in an e-mail to The Flat Hat. “My endorsement of Valerie and Zach didn’t mean a thing and didn’t change a single mind. Senators and people in the Student Assembly, for the most part, live in a little bubble which they think is a microcosm of the real political world.”
p. Elections commissioner Jennifer Souers replaced Skibiak with SA Sen. Joe Luppino-Esposito ’08.
p. Questions also arose during last week’s SA presidential debate, when both parties claimed to have the support of education professor John Foubert, the founder of the sexual assault prevention program One-in-Four.
p. “I have not formally endorsed candidates for SA elections,” Foubert later said.