Home CommentaryOpinions Amateurism in high places

Amateurism in high places

by The Concordian May 6, 2011

Last week, the CSU’s judicial board held a meeting to examine chief electioral officer Oliver Cohen’s decision to disqualify both the Action and Your Concordia slates which participated in March’s CSU election.

While Cohen’s decision to disqualify the victorious Your Concordia slate was overturned, the whole fiasco is symptomatic of a much larger problem for the CSU. The sort of amateurism that has characterized both the candidates and the CEO’s involvement in March’s election is something that should not be accepted by the students at this school, and an alternative must be found.

Oliver Cohen has run the elections process at Concordia for a number of years now, but you wouldn’t know it based on his performance during the March election. For starters, that period saw Cohen make himself virtually unavailable to campus media, individual students, as well as to candidates and groups attempting to secure student-sanctioned fee levies.

While Oliver Cohen’s lack of availability was certainly a problem both before and during the election, it was after the election that his conduct seemed to have become more problematic. In a letter sent to both slates on April 12, Cohen charged both slates with numerous breaches of the elections regulations, and disqualified them. While this in and of itself would not have been a problem, his failure to provide any sort of evidence to substantiate the charges, as well as his lack of communication with campus media and the student body in general created a situation where it became quite reasonable to question his capability as chief electoral officer.

Oliver Cohen was not the only one who displayed a level of amateurism in relation to the recent elections. As stated above, both slates were sanctioned by Cohen for exceeding the spending limited mandated by the CEO’s office. The sanction was then upheld by the judicial board. This mutual breach of electoral rules seems to indicate that both slates either acted in bad faith in an attempt to fool the students of Concordia, or that they can’t do basic math.

Either way, like Oliver Cohen, the slates’ conduct in relation to the recent election would seem to indicate that neither is properly capable of running a clean and legal electoral campaign, much less an organization such as the CSU, which is extremely complicated and which involves properly

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