E-mail abuse, glitch trouble election

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March 27, 2009

5:08 AM

Student Assembly elections Thursday were dotted by instances of mass e-mail abuse and a technological glitch that briefly allowed graduate students to vote in undergraduate class elections.

At approximately 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning, Sen. Ben Brown ’11, chairman of the Council for Fraternity Affairs Judicial Board, sent an e-mail via the CFA listserv urging fraternity members to support Sarah Rojas ’10 and Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 for the positions of SA president and vice-president.

Approximately two hours later, Brown e-mailed a retraction of his statement.

“[CFA chairman] David [Cooper ’10] had talked to me, and I had talked to other people; and it might have seemed like [the] CFA had endorsed the specific ticket, and that was not my intention,” Brown said. “I signed my name and gave my opinion, which ultimately should not have been sent out of the listserv — and that’s why I issued the retraction.”

Cooper says that the statement was an inappropriate use of the listserv, and that he would be discussing it with the Greek Life office some time next week.

“To my knowledge, the CFA rules do not specifically prohibit such actions, but we will be reviewing that soon,” Cooper said.

At approximately 4 a.m., an anonymous e-mail urging students to vote against SA executive candidates Horacio Carreño ’10 and Michael Douglass ’11 was sent, in violation of SA code, to student e-mail adresses.

“Anonymous e-mails are not allowed by our code,” Sen. Matt Beato ’09. “You can e-mail as many [people] as you want, just not anonymously.”

Several hours later, Carreño and Douglass sent their own mass e-mail, urging students to ignore anonymous attacks on their character and instead focus on their platform. An hour later, their opponents, Rojas and Ruzic, also sent a mass e-mail urging discussion of “ideas, not mudslinging.”

A glitch in the College’s online-voting system allowed graduate students to vote in the undergraduate SA election.

The number of graduate voters exceeded the margin of victory in the 2010 senate race. According to Beato, it was the only race affected by the glitch. Beato, who serves on the senate Elections Committee, said that Eric Newman ’10 and Erik Houser ’10 will face off for the spot in a special election next week.

According to a table compiled by Beato, 18 of the 532 students who voted in the Senate 2010 election were graduate students.

This amounts to 3.38 percent of vote. Results show Newman captured only 0.57 percent more of the vote than Houser.

“I think [today] has exposed a lot of the things that need to be changed, but on the [other] hand, it exposed that the SA can get through these things, even if they’re tough,” Beato said. “And I’m happy that we were able to.”

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