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Saturday, May 04, 2002
The Engineers on campus get virtually no press coverage, and that works out pretty well for them. Too bad, since they have their fair share of political intrigue and money scandals.
The group in question here is the Engineering Joint Council, the umbrella group for the various Engineering groups on campus. (That includes the Honor Societies like Tau Beta Pi, general Engineering groups, etc.) The ASUC throws a lot of money EJC's way, with the supposed understanding that a lot of that money will be passed onto the member Societies. Last year they got $13,000, this year probably around $10,000.
But the Officers in charge of EJC are two steps removed from the general mass of Engineers. They're elected by Representatives of the Societies, rather than from Engineers themselves. Not only that, but many of the Societies generally don't pay much attention to EJC, electing the incumbent or incumbent's pick.
Not this year, though.
A group of discontents, led by IIE's Anthony and HKN's (EECS Honor Society) Devesh, backed an outsider for the President's job. Their major complaint: EJC funds were kept secret from the rank and file, EJC leadership was insider-y and unaccountable, and decisions were made undemocratically. Example being: the Rank and File voted 'We're not Dorks' to be the theme of their Engineering Week. EJC Leadership decided later that 'The Art of Engineering' would be used instead. 'The overarching theme,' complained Paganini, 'was that its run as a student group, not a Council.'
But here's where things get messy. The current EJC President, Melissa, sent this e-mail:
4. The office of President is open to past EJC officers only. The president carries the most responsibility, and we require the experience level of a past EJC officer. Much of the president's work is not always visible by the EJC representatives, and the EJC officers have the best understanding of the high levels of dedication and hours that go into the presidency.In other words, Jon wasn't allowed to run. Anthony and Devesh were seriously pissed. Anthony sent this letter to the general EJC mailing list
> > > EJC- Jon Traum, Devesh Parekh and I will be reviewing the EJC bylaws at the Office of Student Life at 102 Sproul tomorrow at 1:15 pm in preparation for the elections. Anyone that wishes to accompany us is welcome to show up at that time. We will purchase a copy, scan, and send a link to a posting of them for those who can't make it.Melissa asked why he cared, to which Anthony replied
Admittedly, and this sounds bad, I've never seen the bylaws. To make an informed voting decision and in preparation for a possible run for Treasurer, I should be familiar with them. Those representatives that haven't seen them should as well, it can only aid in making a responsible decision in voting and will also ensure a fairly conducted election.But this wasn't going to fly: Melissa knew Anthony was bullshitting her and looking for a way to let Jon run. She said as much in her reply
Anthony, it does sound bad that you send to the whole mailing list that you are going down to the OSL to look up the EJC bylaws, making the trip sound so dramatic. Yours and Jon's letters give me and other people the impression that I did a terrible job as president, and I find that impression extremely offensive. It makes the work and the sacrifices seem in vain. This past year was much more organized than the previous, and the previous was more organized than the one before. To imply that I have not been doing enough leaves me very bitter.Behind the scenes, EJC Leadership was pissed off. Their lense was that Devesh and Anthony, who had done some tentative work around the ASUC, were working as agents for the evil student government in order to end EJC's Independence.
OH MY GOD,(I'm still not entirely sure what association they think the ASUC had with Devesh and Anthony. As far as I can tell, mere touches with it leads to a lingering taint that must be avoided. Eh, could be.)
Anthony and Devesh needed a smoking gun in the Constitution, something that clearly stated the EJC Leadership was making the rules up to serve themselves. But they didn't get it: multiple copies of the Constitution with different wording were around, and the section about voting practices was ambiguous. But without the smoking gun, advantage reverted to the Officers. Devesh wrote a diplomatic e-mail
Officers:In response to which, EJC Leadership allowed Jon to run for President after all.
The end was almost anticlimactic. The Incumbent's choice, Audrey, beat Jon by several votes out of 15 cast. Unclear if there'll be any lingering repercussions besides generalized bad feeling and yet more hatred of the EJC for the ASUC. For now, EJC will go on as it has. For now.
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