Elections Wrap Up
Tyranny of the Inferiority
This much we know: someone is definitely going to be the President and Vice President of the ASUO. Who that lucky someone is will be decided at an indeterminate time in the future. Stay tuned.By Brian Ouellette
The ASUO elections. We all are subject to its omnipresence in the media. It graces the front cover of the Oregon Daily Emerald, taking the space usually reserved for more important issues. (See ODE 2/23/00 "More than just hair") Even this periodical is subject to its mighty grasp. Why is it such a pertinent issue when the most popular catch phrases around campus are "What does the ASUO do for me?" and "Why are you handing me this flyer as if I actually care?"
It is because you should care; because the ASUO has held a presidential election that teetered on the verge of being decided by something called "grievances," (you've heard about them but admit it, you have no idea what they mean) and a Constitution Court that held the power to decide who would lead the glorified student government next year.
Before we get into all that, let's review what became of the candidates during the election. Last issue, the Commentator went into great length to recommend that you vote for Scott Austin because he had real ideas, strong stances, personal views, and not least because he was the only one who was crazy enough to get into a dress. (See OC, v. XVII, i. VII) Ignoring his anti-Frohnmayer remarks and his declaration to disband the ASUO, he was still the best choice for student government for the simple reason that he has a level head on his shoulders and didn't turn the election process into a circus. He was defeated, receiving 84 votes.
Autumn DePoe and company (the elusive Caitlin Upshaw) running on a platform of diversity by force and promising a drum in every garage, garnered all 252 of the hippies that found a voting booth to show their support. DePoe/Upshaw decided to spend only $20 on their campaign, which is ironically just about the same amount CJ Gabbe and Peter Larson reported spending as well. "We can do all of this, and we will! VOTE JAY AND HOLLY!" These people were the victors.
This intrafamilial tag team ran on the platform of 1) holding police accountable 2) increasing diversity 3) trying their best to not touch any issues that would be pertinent to more than one percent of the students on campus. Jay and Holly refused to take a strong stance on any actual topic of debate and never introduced any original ideas. On top of this, they never actually told us how or why their platforms should be initiated. The tandem bike was unique; unfortunately they didn't take this mobile advantage to stage an offensive against CJ and Peter's street performers. Jay and Holly garnered 500+ votes and in the general election, amazingly enough, ousted the fascist front-runners, CJ and Peter by a whopping 200 votes.. Congratulations, hopefully they will read this and admit that they only ran for the stipend and their resumes. What they will not realize is that anyone hiring students will look for "real" government experience instead of the "we love the deans" ASUO.
CJ and Peter's ticket was based on a flyer they found posted on a campus bench. Creative juices flowing through their minds, they crossed out Jay and Holly and replaced it with their names. Or was it the other way around? We may never know the truth. The CJ/Holly and Jay/Peter (oops... well, maybe no one will notice) platforms were identical, except that C&P were able to garner the Frat vote by hanging bedsheets with their slogans on houses. Their clever strategy was that everyone will be too drunk to first, see the signs, and second, attempt to remove them in the near future. With the amazing similarity of lemmings or a black angus cattle drive, word spread around fraternities and sororities and voting for CJ and Peter became the 'hip' thing to do in greek houses.
Other innovative ideas of this campaign included paying students to vote and littering the streets with "diverse" students dressed in decorative CJ and Peter gear and shrieking like banshees to anyone within earshot that a vote for CJ and Peter is a vote for, well, something. (They never told us.) CJ and Peter's promises to work on issues that are completely unreachable by anyone except perhaps Margaret Thatcher or Augusto Pinochet got them past the primaries with an amazing 800+ votes, where they were overwhelmingly defeated. (You may pause a moment and sigh in relief.)
Now, you ask, "What about these grievances and ConCourt decisions that keep plagued my ears for a good month?"
Let's get down to the simple facts of the case. CJ and Peter apparently decided that bribing students to vote for them was desirable and tried to get the international vote by sponsoring the local coffee hour. The hour (actually, three) was promoted as being sponsored by your favorite candidates who would encourage students to vote, not to mention serve refreshments on a table littered with campaign buttons and other paraphernalia. CJ and Peter answered questions at the meeting and later, like good boy scouts, remembered to note these costs on their campaign expenditure form. Student Senator Jennifer Greenough recognized that this as a flagrant violation of ASUO elections code and filed a grievance accordingly.
The Constitution Court of the ASUO was eventually called upon to make a decision on whether or not CJ and Peter would be kept on the ballot.
On a brighter note, at this time you could find the most worthless examples of editorials in the ODE, ranging from students who figured that Gabbe/Larson were just special and didn't deserve this unfair barrage, and international students shamelessly plugging the coffee hour. Even students from other schools were writing in, stating that that CJ and Peter were the saviors of all that is holy on this campus.
The trial itself was one trip and stumble after another for CJ's camp. Some of the more interesting points of the hearing included the statement by CJ and Peter that they in fact, did not consider the sponsoring of coffee hour a part of their campaign expenditures. What made this statement utterly hilarious was the fact that a copy was earlier released to the judges and according to their form, it was a part of their funds. (Note to future ASUO contestants: lying to a judge tends to be a bad thing.)
The end result, however, was that the judges let CJ and Peter off on a technicality that for all intents and purposes was an error on the part of the prosecution. Simply put, an elections board proposal requires an administrative hearing on the grievance within 72 hours of the actual proposal. Instead, CJ and Peter's hearing was held 73 hours after the grievance was filed. With the definition of 72 hours decided on in court as to mean 72 hours instead of "at the end of the third day," CJ and Peter were found guilty but spared on a technicality.
That's correct. The leaders of the primaries were found guilty of breaking the ASUO Constitution, yet were allowed to stay on the ballot because of an administrative accident. Those favored to lead the student government into the millennium were frauds, immoral, and unethical. Any self respecting candidate would take themselves off the ballot, but we of course cannot expect this from someone who earlier refused to take a stand on any issues whatsoever and then went on to lie to a court. God bless America.
That was then, this is now. Autumn DePoe filed another grievance that would have buried the actual election results in another possible month of bureaucracy, keeping us in tense agitation as to who would actually rule over the student government. But you no longer have to sit at home and wonder. The people have spoken and told them to go back to their house and rule over those who would join their fraternity. Can 'good riddance' be too harsh of a term?
So what are we left with? Perhaps we won't find the saviors to the ASUO's lack of validity on the ticket of "Hay and Jolly," but with this recent outburst of nationalistic pride. One has to feel, perhaps not proud, but hopeful, that one day, The elections will be one of notoriety.
Lastly, keep in mind that the voter turnout was only ten percent of the campus. We have to wonder whether or not the ASUO elections are even going to continue, what with this less than enthusiastic turnout. Will we see the eventual disbanding of the ASUO? Is this beautiful dream a future reality? Only time will tell, and only the voices of the apathetic hold this power.
*Hey, so it isn't grammatically correct... what are you going to do about it? Hint: start with the Federalist Papers No. 51.
Brian Ouellette, a junior majoring in Political Science, is a staff writer for the Oregon Commentator