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The Back Burner

SMACK or The Two-Thirds Majority That Could

Ah...democracy at work

Most of you that have been following the Student Assembly Soviet Elections scandal have recognized the need for change at Willard Straight Hall. Clearly, so does the Student Assembly.

Thank heavens for sensibility. In an act that reassures TL staffers that the entire campus hasn’t fallen to The Dark Side, a majority of members of the Student Assembly last Thursday voted to reject the results of the tainted and illegitimate March elections. In what was easily the most scandalously engineered set of elections in recent Cornell history, the Students First party, led by perennial Slick Willy Tim Lim’06 and bolstered by such pertinent and coherent election promises as a pledge to ‘Protect Greek Autonomy’, ran roughshod over what little opposition there was, capturing the vast majority of the SA’s 23 seats.

The scandal has brewed with allegations of improper elections administration (a responsibility of the Assembly itself), illegal campaigning, voter and candidate coercion, and even questions regarding the ethics of Mr. Vote For Him ’06 in handling financial and other matters in his previous post as the President of the Cornell Democrats. Tim Lim was impeached from that position following strong allegations of impropriety made by the Dems’ executive.

Too bad that majority of current SA members wasn’t enough to nullify the vote for next year’s illegitimate Students First-dominated Student Assembly. Disapproval of the verification of the election results required two thirds of the current 22-member SA vote. But what should be so reassuring to ethical TL readers is that the motion failed by the slimmest of margins — eight to fourteen — meaning that if one SA member switched his or her vote from a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’, we would be revving up for a new set of legitimate and truly democratic elections right now.
The fourteen members of the SA weren’t alone in their contempt for the March elections. At the Student Assembly meeting where the fate of the elections were to be decided, members of the conservative Cornell Review and of our own Turn Left editorial board made a joint statement before the SA in favor of nullifying the elections, stating that ‘students’ rights as voters were trampled upon, and therefore the elections should be nullified and a new, better advertised set of elections should be held.’

Later on, members of the SixPAC ticket, the sole rival of Students First this semester, made a powerful statement calling out Machiavellian SA members for their outright lies in defending this year’s SA vote at a previous meeting. In that March meeting before the verification of the SA election, the Student assembly voted on whether to hold a new set of elections in light of the allegations of electioneering. But then, as now, the SA has woefully decided against the majority of honest and devoted assemblypeople and Cornellians, handing Herr Lim a veritable Enabling Act.

Alas, the Forces of Good may have lost this battle, but they are prepared to win the war. As a sign of the Students First fragility, during a nail-biting moment during the vote when the motion to throw out the elections seemed about to pass, the Fuhrer of Students First slammed his forehead and fist on the table before him in frustration, only to regain composure after his tentative victory. History has shown that even the pettiest crooks, with the Forces of Good willing and able, are brought to their Nuremberg.

Created January 15, 2008 by Andrew Garib and Wayne Huang | Last updated February 15, 2008