To the Editor:

On behalf of the Election Commission, we would like to clarify a few points regarding the Election Commission and the way in which we work.

The GUSA bylaws state that each year’s election commissioner is the secretary of the Senior Class Committee. This person has the responsibility of forming the Election Commission. All members must be seniors who are not connected to GUSA (i.e. a part of the staff or Assembly). As such, we are a fair and unbiased body which works outside of GUSA to monitor the group’s elections.

The bylaws are indeed very strict and detailed. This is the result of both problems that have occurred with the elections in years past and general good sense about how to guarantee the most even elections possible.

Within these strict rules, however, the Election Commission does have some autonomy, and each year’s commission makes decisions that are appropriate for the particular candidates, issues and problems of the time. In our case, we chose not to release the percentage results from the fall’s Assembly elections. We came to this conclusion primarily because releasing that information did not seem pertinent.

By the time you ran last Friday’s article (“GUSA to Withhold Full Election Results,” THE HOYA, Jan. 20, 2006, A1) on the upcoming presidential elections, the truth was that we, as a commission, had not even discussed the matter of releasing numbers. There was no “decision to keep GUSA election results private,” as THE HOYA stated in its editorial (“Open GUSA Vote Crucial,” Jan. 24, 2006, A2). While it is in our power to establish such a policy, we in fact hadn’t.

There are, of course, compelling reasons on both sides to release or retain the specific percentages. Although we want student elections to be as transparent as possible, a few years ago, the victorious ticket was overturned because of bylaw violations and the pair of candidates with the lower vote return were made the executives – creating tension between GUSA members and distrust on campus for the GUSA system.

Finally, it is important to note that the election commissioner has not, and will not, bow to any outside pressure. The goal of the body is to make decisions that, while fair, may not be popular or easy. At the time of the Assembly elections, no member of the campus community confronted us about their concerns, so we were unaware (until this past Friday) of any misgivings regarding the actions of the Election Commission.

As a fair and balanced body, we have worked hard – and will continue to do so – to ensure that all members of the Georgetown community are treated with the respect they deserve, and that elections are held to serve, rather than divide, campus. We can only hope that as a leader in student press, THE HOYA can accept the same goals.

Erin Barbato, Jason Caraballo and Meaghan Chambers

Election Commission Members

Jan. 26, 2006

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.