Last Wednesday, I told many of you that Election Week at San José State had concluded. For 15 of the 16 student government positions, they have been finalized. However, the most recognized position of them all has not: president.
Prior to Election Week ending, presidential candidate Jared Garcia filed a grievance on fellow candidate Héctor Perea. The complaint in question: asking a fellow professor to forward an email among a particular class section.
In nearly all cases, this is where the Elections Regulation Manuel (ERM) of Associated Students (A.S.) comes in handy. Unfortunately, this happens to be one of the rare occasions.
“I was looking through the elections regulations manual, and there’s a section in there that says you cannot ask professors or faculty members or SJSU staff asking for… any assistance from them,” said Jared Garcia during an interview with the Spartan Daily.
What Jared is referring to would be Article IV, Section I, Subsection H: “Candidates may not solicit nor accept any materials, funds, assistance, or endorsement from any SJSU faculty, staff, or administrative personnel.”
Sounds simple and straightforward, right? In theory, the rule leaves virtually no wiggle room for different interpretations. But that is exactly the problem: there is indeed room, courtesy of the Students Elections Commission (SEC).
At the Candidate Orientation meetings, SEC officers consistently told candidates that they could indeed ask professors to speak in front of classes. Even the Spartan Daily publicized this piece of information by saying, “Perea sent the email to Randle to present his platform to the class, something that the candidates do.”
What then is defined as “assistance?” Last time I checked, asking a professor to present is very much asking for assistance, regardless of it being a physical presentation or virtual presentation.
At least have the decency to include “exceptions” if there are any. However, by the way Héctor was treated, it would seem like there were none to begin with.
By filing the grievance, Jared set a very dangerous precedent for future elections. Because let’s face it: all candidates did presentations in their respective classes and likewise, they were essentially receiving assistance from their professors.
I know I did. Certain individuals whom I shall not name did the same, as well. Will those running in the future be removed for the same actions?
If the rules were strictly being followed, all of us would have been removed from the ballot by now. Instead, Héctor is wrongfully the scapegoat in this year’s election. But why?
Because he won the election for A.S. President. Had he lost, I highly doubt the grievance would ever have been an issue.
This is mismanagement at its finest. This is dirty politics, and cannot be accepted at any level whatsoever.
We need future leaders who appreciate the people’s vote, regardless of the outcome. And when that outcome happens to be defeat, he or she must acknowledge and gracefully exit right after.
We do not need leaders who undermine the voting process. Who undermine the rules towards dangerous precedents. Who undermine the voice of the people.
Let’s do what is right, Spartans. Vote to make sure that the integrity of our elections are kept. Vote to make sure that injustice such as this does not happen again. Vote to make sure that the right person is placed into office.