Though there are few things that all student groups have in common, every group will need access to its funds at some point. The office in charge of granting that access is the vice president for finance (VPF) of the Student Association. And right now, we don’t have one lined up for next year.
Unlike the positions holding runoff elections, this isn’t because the race for VPF was too close to call. Several, albeit unverified, allegations have been brought before the SA saying that Ethan Shepherd — the winning candidate in last Friday’s elections — violated SA rules by voting for himself on his friends’ phones and intimidating voters by watching them vote. It’s important to note that these accusations are hearsay, and no official complaints have been filed. But the shadow of doubt is worrying, especially given Shepherd’s questionable qualifications for the job.
The VPF’s primary job is to fill out vouchers for student groups. Shepherd’s opponent, Tom Sheehan, worked under the VPF this year and has filled out over 700 of these vouchers. Shepherd hasn’t filled out one. As we mentioned in Pipe Dream’s endorsement of Sheehan, he seemed to be the clear choice. We were surprised when Shepherd won — even if by a small margin — and with these allegations brought forth, that surprise has turned into concern.
The people who have complained about these election practices have chosen not to file a formal complaint. If these allegations are true, then more students have been affected by the practices in question. This is a call to action. If you are one of the students who claimed to have been intimidated, you must come forward and file a complaint.
It is no secret that the editorial board of Pipe Dream is displeased with and unsettled by these results. If enough students — even one — are willing to come forward and say something, we as a student body may have a chance to go back and make the right decision for VPF this time around.
We want answers. We want either confirmation that something wrong and undemocratic happened last week, or we want Shepherd’s name cleared and for the office to run smoothly next year. Ethan is innocent until proven guilty, and we sincerely hope that he is innocent.
We shouldn’t have to doubt our elections process being fair and democratic. No student officials should be allowed to take office without following campaign rules, set to ensure that the best and most qualified candidate — rather than he who can cheat the best — is elected. With that, we hope for some clarity. These allegations may be completely false, but the presence of doubt is concerning enough, and we sincerely hope to have some more clarity by Monday night.