Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Union ‘disappointed’ in Daily Free Press, election commission

Boston University Student Union members voiced dissatisfaction with The Daily Free Press’s April Fools’ Day publication in a meeting Monday night. Union could not formally vote on any matters, as they were one senator short of quorum, but individual senators voiced their concerns and opinions.

The meeting took place late Monday evening before any further apology or action had been issued by  The Daily Free Press.

Union President Howard Male said student leaders need to be held accountable for their actions and need to uphold values of respect, ethics and integrity as they move forward.

“I think the general consensus amongst the representatives involved was shock, dismay and disappointment that we as students are not treating each other with respect or with sensitivity as it relates to individuals who may be impacted or who have had sexual assault or misconduct touch their lives in some way,” said Male, a School of Management and School of Hospitality Administration senior.

Male said he was optimistic about the discussion, which gave senators insight into how Union could approach this issue as a representative body in the future.

Members said they were upset because they felt that the publication reflected badly upon BU and its students.

“Granted, The Daily Free Press is independent of Boston University, but it’s written by Boston University students,” said Advocacy Committee Chair D.A. Whatley, an SMG freshman.

Whatley added that he did not want his name associated with The Free Press’s issue since did not reflect his feelings as a BU student.

“If you were the parent of a student who has recently been admitted to this university, and this is the time that you come and visit this university, and this is what you see, would you be inclined to send your student to this school?” asked Dexter McCoy, a College of Fine Arts sophomore.

During the discussion, Union Vice President Alex Staikos, an SMG sophomore, compiled a list of actions representatives hoped to see executed, including a realization of the publication’s greater implications and in-person meetings between affected parties.

Beyond discussion of The Free Press, Union members also addressed issues with the Student Elections Commission.

“The general consensus among the representatives in Student Union was the Student Elections Commission did not live up to what we expected from them based on conversations with that commission leading up to the vote of confidence and securing the services of the SEC in running the Student Union elections,” Male said.

Last fall, Union passed a vote of confidence in the SEC, which allowed the SEC to continue running Union elections, Staikos said during the meeting.

However, members said they were dissatisfied with the SEC’s lack of advertising for the upcoming election and that SEC did not do enough to reach out to potential candidates.

“I didn’t find out about the info sessions . . . until 45 minutes before the third and final one,” Staikos said. “That’s a problem.”

Staikos said only one state is running in the current election because the SEC did not do enough to inform other potential candidates.

“It doesn’t provide legitimacy to that slate or to that organization,” he said. “There needs to be a little bit more discourse.”

Representatives hope to ensure the legitimacy, openness and fairness of the election as they move forward with the campaign process, Male said.

“As an executive board, we will speak with the SEC as well as a number of other stakeholders to explore what options those are,” Male said. “We will be holding a town hall meeting for interested individuals once we have gathered that information, hopefully in the next 48 hours.”

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