Reform, Don't Repeat

Campus Issues: Noah Stern's behavior leaves many rightfully disappointed, but structural issues in ASUC elections must be addressed.

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The year-round circus that is the ASUC continues with the scandal over campaign violations allegedly committed by President-elect Noah Stern. While the decision from last week's trial has still not been released as of press time, we can be reasonably certain of a few points.

Primary among them is that Stern has disappointed many of his supporters with his behavior over the course of campaign season, including ourselves. Whether or not Stern's actions were legal, he admitted during the hearing to voting for another student, a serious offense against the democratic nature of the ASUC.

While Kevin Gibson's prosecutorial work was slow to start and uneven - one of his witnesses claimed a campaign violation occurred weeks after the election - we still recognize him for performing capably under significant pressure.

We can also say that the Judicial Council held a fair trial, maintaining order throughout the contentious proceedings and asking tough questions of all parties involved. So it is a shame that if Stern is not disqualified, doubt may be cast on the fairness of the decision due to the fact that two of the five justices present for the trial are in Stern's fraternity, Delta Chi. This could have been avoided: Justices Mangels and Schlesinger ought to have recused themselves in order to protect the reputation of the Judicial Council.

Perhaps most importantly, the election bylaws must be comprehensively reformed. They are often unclear and poorly organized. For example, the prohibitions against a candidate campaigning within 20 feet of a polling station and against voting twice are not technically grounds for censure, when they most clearly should be. Anything less than comprehensive reform makes a repeat of this controversy close to inevitable.

If Stern is disqualified, Eunice Kwon will have a lot to prove as president, having lost the vote by a significant margin. If Stern is seated, he will also have a lot to prove to those uncomfortable with a president who committed election fraud. Perhaps this can be the one positive of this unfortunate situation.

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