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Commission Wrong to Take Smith Off Ballot

Ed: The Tech received the following letter before the restoration of candidates Chris D. Smith ’01 and Patrick D. Kane ’03 to the Undergraduate Association ballot.

Shame on the election commission for disqualifying Smith/Kane for such an insignificant collection of “violations.” The alleged postering violations have not been substantiated, nor is it possible to attribute them to Smith/Kane or anyone on their campaign team. How can the commission allow eleven sheets of (allegedly) misplaced paper disqualify two eligible, qualified candidates for the most significant position in student government? Have you no sense of priority? The existing postering rules are in no way clear enough to warrant such attention. The anecdotal claims of postering “violations” suggest a misunderstanding at worst, and an exaggeration at best. Is the Election Commission truly concerned that eleven posters have swayed student sentiment so sharply as to threaten the integrity of the election?

Perhaps if the Commission spent as much energy fostering student interest in UA elections as it did hampering candidates’ well-intentioned attempts to elicit student support, there might be an acceptable level of student participation in the election process.

I applaud Smith and Kane for presenting a platform full of fresh ideas motivated by a true passion for active student leadership. It is encouraging to see candidates with the vision and courage to buck the existing mundane model of “bake-sale” approaches to student empowerment.

I can imagine only two explanations for the UA Election Committee’s absurd and illogical overreaction. If I didn’t know better, I would suspect a politically motivated setup. More likely, considering the persistent apathy shown on the part of most of the MIT community, this is a simple case of complete incompetence on the part of the commission in prioritizing campaign issues. In either case, an injustice has been committed against the best interests of the student body.

David A. Geiger ’99