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The Under-Reported Election

Guest Column
Victoria K. Anderson

Although the Undergraduate Association elections are seldom run without controversy, I believe that The Tech’s coverage of this year’s elections has exacerbated a great number of small problems.

I believe that most of this is because The Tech’s coverage of the election has been centered more in the opinion section than in the news section, which is simply not acceptable.

In past elections, The Tech published the candidates’ platforms in the issue prior to the debates, which gave the students an opportunity to learn about the candidates before the debates and decide what questions they would like to ask. Since these were not published prior to the debates, only those students who already know about relevant issues or who already know the candidates were able to contribute meaningful questions. This perpetuated the very “insider UA culture” that The Tech criticized at several points in the election process.

The failure of The Tech to publish the candidates’ platforms before the debates also meant that the endorsement editorial came at the same time that students were first able to read about the candidates platforms, thus eliminating any chance for us to get an unbiased view of the candidates and evaluate them for ourselves, unless we previously knew about the platforms or the candidates.

Additionally, there has been no mention whatsoever of the class council or UA Councilor elections in The Tech. While these elections are primarily uncontested, the impact these students have and the fact that some elections do require students to make a choice suggest that at least mentioning the candidates would have been appropriate. The Tech asked each presidential and vice presidential candidate for class council to submit a platform to the newspaper, but then failed to print the submissions. This was both a disservice to the readers, as well as irresponsible and misleading to the candidates.

Finally, the scorecard of opinion writer’s endorsements was far too personalized and the juxtaposition of this on the page next to the candidates platforms further removed any chance of objective coverage of the UA Presidential/Vice Presidential elections. If such detailed opinions from specific staff members were deemed to merit publication, which they may have been, this would only be appropriate to publish in the opinion section, instead of the news section where it was published.

I hope that this year’s coverage does not set a precedent for The Tech’s coverage of future UA elections. As the sole source of news coverage on this campus, at times The Tech has a greater responsibility than most major newspapers in covering our own presidential elections. It is imperative The Tech recognize this responsibility.

Victoria K. Anderson ’02 is an Undergraduate Association Councilor from Next House.