Elections have finally reached a close and after a mass of candidates, graduating officers and students sent in letters to the editors of campus publications it has become evident that this is one of the most widely publicized elections for USG positions—but not necessarily in a good way.
There are roughly 20,000 students on campus, and yet, only over 1,000 students voted on SOLAR for the new USG officers and senators.
Unfortunately, this year’s elections seemed more like a high school popularity contest than a political election. There were flashy posters, cute taglines and Facebook promotional event groups rampant through campus in the last few weeks, the result being the Seawolves for Change party capturing 22 out of 32 seats in USG. Hopefully their vague notions of fostering change and community translate into actual benefits for USG and the campus.
When the torch is passed on to the next generation of any club, agency or organization, it should be without the mentality of simply cleaning up after their predecessors’ messes. The new officers should aim to do better than those before them; to fix mistakes, learn from history and allow the community as a whole to prosper.
After a Letter to the Editors from USG Executive Vice President Deborah Machalow in the last edition of The Stony Brook Press, it seemed SBU politicians and students far and wide jumped on the bandwagon to email their thoughts and opinions to The Press and The Statesman.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that all these letters were gold. While Machalow’s letter was well written, well informed and articulate, it is not without its preferences. Machalow demonstrates support for several candidates that were running in this semester’s elections, much to the opposition of many USG members. While rumors of impeaching Machalow in her last days of reign as EVP surfaced, others became emboldened to submit similar pieces, albeit, with less sophistication.
In a letter to The Statesman, an anonymous writer blatantly chastised Machalow for being a puppetmaster to members of the Senate. The piece was ridden with typographical and grammatical errors and had zero basis to back up any claims made against Machalow’s character and the way she ran her office. But the letter loses even more validity in that it insults Machalow for “wearing a mask.” At least she posted her honest editorial with her name attached. It is more than hypocritical to criticize someone for a false facade while not putting a name to the harsh words one is writing.
After that, Esam Al-Shareffi wrote a letter to The Statesman criticizing their choice to run such a letter, as it completely goes against the point of an LTE. The Statesman elected not to run Al-Shareffi’s letter, likely because he established his point in a jab against the publication. He then sent it to The Press who has agreed to run the the letter in our LTE section.
Kenneth Myers, a senator elect and member of the S.A.F.E party, sent in another letter published in this issue about how dirty the election campaigning was, with many people disregarding set rules and guidelines for promotional materials for party members running for USG positions. He claims that unknown persons attempted to use his name to vandalize other candidates posters and thus blackmail him in the process.
Shortly after, Mallory Rothstein, USG Senator elect and member of the Seawolves for Change party, emailed The Press asking to write an opinionated piece to either “directly or indirectly endorse Aimee Pomeroy” in regards to the runoff elections in which Pomeroy was pitted against S.A.F.E party member, Jason Sockin.
While Rothstein’s article would not have even made it into this issue in time to help Pomeroy win her election (not that she needed it, clearly) we here at The Press saw this simply as a blatant attempt to shamelessly advertise for her fellow party member. She went on to publish her endorsement in The Statesman while conveniently leaving out her obvious bias as a Seawolves for Change party member.
Ideally, an LTE is not outlet for people to shamelessly support or defame others; they are intended for readers to voice their opinions, concerns and beliefs for things read within the pages of a publication. In the past, The Press has received such letters bastardizing us for the use of certain words or the publishing of certain, unsavory pieces. We want to elicit debate, spark thought and on many, sometimes unintentional, occasions, invoke controversy. When the campus publications are being used in ways that simply pander to the whims of the powers that be, like USG, it is not doing its community any favors.
While there is no changing those that won their positions in USG, it seems obvious to those informed and aware of internal conflict that USG has lost several intelligent individuals through their losses in the elections. Now the government of SBU is under a very near two-thirds majority by the Seawolves for Change party, whose mission statement is as vague as it is cliche. While it is surely everyone’s hope that those elected will do their best to benefit the community, it is unclear whether a fruitful and significant difference will be made. Either way, I’m out of here. Good luck, Stony Brook!
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