The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 37.0°F | A Few Clouds

UA Should Avoid Mid-Election Changes

Undergraduate Association election season is here, and unfortunately it began with disorganization and conflict. The confusion results from the overturning of the UA Council's election rule changes. The UA badly needs legitimacy, and does not stand to gain any by altering election procedures after the season begins.

The problem was not that the UAC passed an amendment to the election code on Feb. 13, reducing the signature requirements for candidates. The problem was that they chose to implement the changes for the current elections, when the election commission is supposed to be handling the process. Petitions for candidates have been available since the first day of the term, and candidates have been deciding if they want to run, finding running mates, collecting signatures, and deciding on campaign platforms.

Is this the ideal time for the UA Council to throw everything into disarray? Apparently some members of council decided they did not like a system that seemed acceptable to them a few months ago.

Change in the middle of the election process simply generates confusion, and when officials change the very rules that will govern their own re-election, conflict of interest issues inevitably arise. Fortunately, the UA Election Commission refused to carry out the rule changes until the chair of the UA Judicial Review Board decided on the issue. Albert Hsu '96, the chair, chose to overturn the changes Monday night, concluding that the UAC overstepped their bounds during the election process; later UA President Vijay P. Sankaran '95 effectively endorsed the decision.

Thus the Election Commission and the Judicial Review Board have given elections some semblance of order. Had the proposed rule change gone through, a dangerous precedent would have been established. In recent memory the UA has never been accused of moving too quickly on important matters. We believe the UA should slow down when making changes in upcoming election rules.

The UA, which has enough image problems to begin with, should do what it can to increase its legitimacy and avoid the appearance of impropriety.