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Opinion: Finally finished

Naila Dhanani: As election season ends, disappointment ensues

Published: Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

I entered this year's election season full of hope and excitement. This would be the year we would elect our first student body president to lead us into the Southeastern Conference, to lead us into the reopening of the Memorial Student Center, to lead us anywhere we Aggies want to go in 2012.

It was supposed to be a time where hard-working students with an enormous passion for our University and a desire to serve its students would come together and campaign for the school's most prominent position.

Instead, I left this season disappointed. Rumors, gossip and malicious intentions pitted candidate against candidate and overshadowed the true spirit of election season. Each campaign submitted violations against the other, readily defying the Aggie Spirit they so adamantly preach; the Election Commission refused to accept the runoff vote; and the Judicial Court had to step in not once, but twice to allow the student body's voice to finally be heard.

Campaigns are important, especially to those who have dedicated hundreds of hours in order to promote a particular candidate. But campaigns should never take precedence over protecting the integrity of the role of student body president and our University.

Student body president will do more than just shake the hands of important people and make vague claims regarding the quality of students' experiences. The SBP is expected to be the student voice in all decisions made affecting our University.

This election season reflected poorly on the candidates and the campaigns. Elections are a time of heightened emotions, but they should not be a time of reckless decisions.

Student Body President-Elect John Claybrook was never in violation of the election code — as the Judicial Court refunded each fine — yet was denied office for a short period of time.

Although Claybrook emerged victorious and the students' voice was ultimately heard, this election left many questioning the integrity of the role of student body president. It's difficult to place trust in an office that has been the subject of such controversy in recent days.

I'd like to see students — the actual student body, not Student Senate or any other branch of Student Government — lobby for a change in election codes, in particular the Transparency Clause, so candidates don't have to resort to auditing each other in order to ensure a fair election and prevent an exercise in sham democracy.

As we look to the coming months, I hope Claybrook will encourage students to come together and overlook the lack of productivity that has been the face of Student Government. Claybrook has the power to affect the future of our University and I hope he's in it for the long haul.



Naila Dhanani is a junior biomedical sciences major and opinion editor.

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