Executive endorsements create stir

Tyler McNeil
Managing Editor

IMG_0403-8Tyler McNeil|The Hudsonian

“A vote for Shane is a vote for success,” shouted Student Senate vice president Bryce Kirk passing through the courtyard next to Brahan Hall with a group of Shane Batcher supporters.

Kirk and Student Senate president Everett McNair’s advocacy for Shane Batcher during the first day of senior elections lead candidates and the other half of Senate officers to question the constitutionality of the endorsement.

The election committee unanimously voted to ban both officers from campaigning during a Thursday morning meeting. Kirk and McNair did not any face repercussions due to the ruling, which also considered ex-officio member campaigning to be constitutional.

Presidents and vice presidents are ex-officio members for every committee under the Senate’s Constitution. According to the bylaws, election committee members participating in partisan behavior are subject for dismissal. The election committee decided that ex-officio member campaigning is not defined strictly enough to go against the Senate’s Constitution.

“[Ex-officio members] have always been able to campaign, but it was brought up by someone who was running that they see this in the bylaws and they don’t think the structure of how this has been going is the right way,” said A’cynee Edmundson, election committee member.

Surprise Party presidential elect Emma Dillon claimed that Kirk and McNair’s campaign efforts for Batcher went against Senate rules.

“I say you just follow the rules,” said Dillon. “If it’s not in the Constitution, you just don’t do it.”

Senate officers first met with Student Activities Wednesday to discuss the campaign controversy, including their role in the election under the Constitution.
Kirk declined to comment.

“I personally feel like if you’re in a formal position like the [executive board], I think one should stay neutral and preside over the election like a president should,” said Independent secretary elect Manik Elahi.

The only other Senate officer involved in the election was Student Senate treasurer Josiah Dillon campaigning for the Surprise Party. With Student Senate treasurer Brody O’Connor leading the election committee, Dillon was the only officer without direct involvement in arbitrating election conflicts.

Batcher told The Hudsonian about a week before the elections that he was unsure whether Kirk and McNair would be involved in his campaign, despite their support.

In his first year at Hudson Valley, working in the engineering science program, Batcher became more familiar with the Student Senate through McNair. Earlier this semester, Batcher joined the Senate with a focus on becoming Student Senate president.

“I’ve worked with him a lot on projects and homework, and I think he will do a great job with the presidency,” said McNair.

Kirk and McNair were not the only members of the election committee involved in campaigning. John Robert, senior senator, campaigned for Elahi starting on Thursday despite being part of the election committee.

Robert, who previously dropped out of petitioning for secretary in the People’s Party, denied any misconduct.

“I would have to recuse myself if there were anything that had to do with Manik because I campaigned for him, but other than that, there’s not really anything in there for [campaigning],” he said.

Robert later removed himself from the election committee.

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