The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The “We” ticket is requalified

Following five hours of heated deliberation by Guilford Community Senate and a large crowd of concerned students, a final vote reinstated the previously disqualified ticket of Dana Hamdan, Patchouli Oerther, Andre Arguimbau, and Anne St. Clair to the ballot for the April 2 election.The vote was the culmination of a week of controversy that began when Oerther was disqualified from the ticket, known as the WE ticket, because of a level one judicial violation received over Serendipity weekend. Concern over the ramifications of removing one of only two tickets from the ballot, as well as the circumstances of the tickets removal, resulted in the large turnout to the March 31 senate meeting.

“That was the longest, most tedious process, and it was really hard. It was really emotional. But I’m glad that the students came out,” said junior Jordan Auleb, current Community Senate treasurer.

Early in the evening, over 100 students filled Founders Gallery for a meeting originally set up to field questions and dispel rumors about The WE tickets’ disqualification. Over the course of the five-hour meeting, the assembled group moved to a vote on proposals pertaining to the possible reinstatement of the WE ticket on the ballot. The large turnout and lengthy debate led to what some senators considered a departure from typical senate procedure.

“I was disappointed that we couldn’t use our normal decision-making process. A lot of times in senate we are able to come to agreement through discussion, and that didn’t happen tonight,” said senior Phil Kennedy, a senator who facilitated the meeting.

The pivotal motion of the meeting was a proposal by junior Alina Saez to reinstate the WE ticket on the grounds that there be more than one ticket. After the entire group failed to reach consensus, the vote was passed to the senators. The process reached a stalemate when that vote ended in a tie. A series of appeals to Senate President Nancy Klosteridis eventually swayed popular opinion, and a second tally broke the deadlock between the 21 senators who were present for the meeting.

The final 12-8 vote (with one vote to abstain) reinstated the WE ticket and meant that two choices would appear on the ballot in Friday’s election.

This represented a huge victory for supporters of the WE ticket, who felt that even though the process was complicated, the decision made represented the will of the student body.

“We stepped a little bit outside what a Quaker business meeting entails. But the community was guided by the wisdom of the group who came, and that shows that our community knows how to step up when they need to step up,” said Hamdan, presidential candidate for the WE ticket.

The shift away from standard procedure also proved extremely controversial.

“I am absolutely infuriated and sad about the decision made last night. It completely disregarded any process or rules that have been set-up throughout the years and by the community – mostly because a couple of people simply couldn’t take responsibility for their actions,” said former Senate Vice President Trevor Corning in an e-mail interview. Corning resigned following the decision.

Many in attendance expressed concerns about the decision to deviate from procedures established in senate bylaws, and the precedent it set for future elections.

Senate advisor and Vice President for Student Affairs Aaron Fetrow placed the decision in context.

“(The senate election) is very similar every year now,” said Fetrow. “Except for one, there’s been dramatic flair around the election, with somebody trying to skate around the bylaws and then we rewrite the bylaws. The constitution of the United States doesn’t get amended that often.”

Fetrow also expressed concern over the long-term involvement of the students who attended.

“It’s really disappointing to see eight people at senate meetings for an entire year, and then when 100 people get upset because their friend can’t run, they come to a senate meeting.”

First-year Lamar Gibson, the vice presidential candidate on the ticket headed by junior Hannah Kennedy, relayed this concern directly to the new faces in the audience.

“You should be ashamed,” said Gibson. “You haven’t been here past Wednesdays, you won’t be here next Wednesday, and you won’t be here Sunday, either. What right do you have to change rules that you’ve had nothing to do with it?”

Kennedy articulated apprehension over the proximity between the Wednesday meeting and Friday’s election.

“I think that unfortunately (Wednesday’s vote) is the election,” said Kennedy. “I think that people need time to understand what happened and to let that soak in, and I don’t think that time is going to be there.

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