Letter to the Editor: Election Commission makes grave error
March 22, 2011
In light of the recent allegations of bribery made against Kaveh [Sadeghian ’12] and Molly [Bulman ’12]’s campaign, I have decided to come forward of my own volition to express my disgust at the Election Commission’s decision. I am the Chair of the Publications Council and one of the members who met with Kaveh on Friday evening. I was charged per the Council to investigate ways in which we could secure funding we expected to receive during the normal budget process and correct the [Student Assembly]-Pub Council contract which caused the budget problem in the first place. One of the options brought up was meeting with the current Executive leaders, either President Chrissy [Scott ’11] or Vice-President Kaveh in order to see what kind of solutions they could offer us. Since Kaveh was the only one available that evening (and I wanted to act as quickly as possible), fellow council member Alex Pouille [’11] and I met with him on the [Sadler Center] Terrace to chat about our options.
Kaveh offered us a number of solutions to both our budget issue and our contract concerns. Kaveh spoke of investigating use of [Student Bar Associations] funds, pursuing a bill to secure funds from the SA Reserves, and he mentioned the use of a SA President’s summer discretionary fund. He said were he or David Alpert voted in, we would be able to petition the winner for use of some of the fund. Kaveh made it clear from the beginning of the conversation that he was in no way campaigning, but simply offering us options to solve our problem. And we came to Kaveh as he was current SA VP, not because he was a candidate for the current SA elections.
I left the meeting feeling that Kaveh gave me and [the] Council good options and that the Council could now act appropriately. And then I sent out an email to Publications Council members to update them on our progress. I did mention that Kaveh had mentioned this fund and its possible use to the Council’s benefit. But at no time did he promise to use the fund in exchange for Council votes. The simple truth is, Kaveh never made a campaign promise nor did he bribe me or the rest of the Council.
Unfortunately in my emails, I ignorantly and irresponsibly used language that made it seem as if Kaveh had attempted to bribe me and the Council in our conversation on Friday evening. My emails said Kaveh “agreed” and “would” help the Council through this fund. That I cannot deny; but no deal took place along the lines of “voting Kaveh in and then we’d be able to get the funds we are requesting.” That never happened and was not even something that could be construed from our conversation. Unfortunately, my emails didn’t adequately convey this. And for that I should be penalized, not Kaveh. I can only beg an ignorance of the consequences of inflating such a conversation. Unfortunately, I’m just not a politician. What I meant to convey to the Council was that we had this other option available-that of the SA President discretionary fund- and that in my own opinion and assessment (not by any promise made to me) Kaveh could possibly help us with this. Hindsight is a wonderful thing; and if I had known that such charges would have been leveled against Kaveh for the words of my email, I certainly would have chosen my words more carefully and accurately-which did not involve any agreements or bribes.
Unfortunately I allowed my own personal decision on the SA election to impact my vocabulary — making Kaveh open to completely false claims of bribery and violation of the election rules. I am completely aware that voting for David A. would also allow the Council the opportunity to petition him for financial help from the summer discretionary fund. It is my fault (and my fault alone) that I did not make this option clear to the rest of the Council in my emails. As I said, I am [not] and never will be a politician. To be quite honest, the politics on this campus annoy me to no end. I was seeking purely to solve the problem of the Council’s funding through whatever means necessary and permissible.
I feel such guilt that my poor word choice has caused such a debacle. I feel even more disgust at the way in which a few SA individuals saw this as a political opportunity and jumped at it. This only convinces me more that the way in which politics is practiced at William & Mary is unhealthy and destructive. And sadly, the very person who after even just a brief conversation seems most likely to me to help the situation, is being targeted with lies and malicious intentions in what amounts to a modern day witch-hunt.
I apologize to Kaveh and Molly and their entire campaign for causing this mess. I hope that they and all of their supporters can forgive me for my politically dangerous and stupid words. And I hope that people will still be encouraged to vote. Despite my disgust with those in the SA who hold their positions for personal gain rather than for the benefit of students, I’ve always voted. It still remains, the only way a William & Mary student can express their opinion is through the ballot box.