Write-in slate Be United might be more of a prank than a legitimate slate running for Boston University Student Union’s spring 2012 election, Union members said.
“I just think they’re trying to pull some big publicity stunt where Election Day comes, and they get a lot of people to do a write-in for a slate that doesn’t exist,” said Union Vice President Alex Staikos, a School of Management sophomore.
Though the slate began campaigning on Facebook and Twitter starting April 2, the candidates are not registered in the BU directory.
Greg Jones, who claimed to be a College of Engineering sophomore serving as the slate’s campaign manager, listed the members of Be United in an email sent to The Daily Free Press. The candidates’ identities are under further investigation by Union and The Daily Free Press.
Be United did not contact the Student Election Commission, said CAS senior Amanda Peterson, head of SEC.
“As far as contact or involvement, there’s been nothing from them,” she said.
Jones posted a campaign video on YouTube Tuesday, but the video did not show any live-action shots or the faces of any of the members allegedly running.
The same day, the slate tweeted, “We will not be going to the Meet and Greet tomorrow because like most #BU students we have class. Our slate puts academics first!”
Jones did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but submitted a letter to the editor on behalf of Be United, outlining slate’s mission.
“The candidates of Be United 2012 are not part of this isolated group of students that think they are better than everyone just because they hold leadership titles,” the letter said. “We truly are the average Boston University student.”
Though write-in slates are sanctioned if they fail to follow regulations for SEC registration, Peterson said consequences are applied retroactively and write-in slates can end up winning.
Peterson said if Be United were to win and the members turn out to be fake, students with the next highest number of votes for each position in other slates. In this case, BeUnleashed would be next in line.
Prior to Be United’s online announcement, Union slate BeUnleashed was introduced as an unopposed slate.
Union President Howard Male, a School of Hospitality Administration and SMG senior, said he is unsure if Be United is a prank.
“I try to give the benefit of the doubt, but if it is a prank I don’t personally think that it’s a very funny one,” Male said. “I don’t think that individuals who are campaigning or are genuinely interested in bettering the Boston University community think it’s very funny.”
Peterson said students might have created a fake slate as a way to add excitement to the election, though their energy may have been better spent on legitimately adding ideas to the discourse.
“In some ways, I wonder if the people who did this might actually have opinions and ideas that would be worth creating a slate over and actually involving themselves in the process,” she said.
Male said he hopes any students with concerns will try to seriously contribute to the election.
“There are still ways for individuals to run through SEC’s write-in procedures,” he said, “and I do think that contested elections are more beneficial on the whole for the university community as long as they are done in a way that is respectful toward everyone.”
Staikos said competitive elections are more productive for the community.
“Having an unopposed election does nobody any good, and there is a lot of time for another slate to come up and win it,” he said.
A contested election adds legitimacy to the winning slate and Union itself, Staikos said.
“This year, because there’s only one slate, they don’t have a lot of incentive to spend a lot of time meeting people and actively campaigning,” he said. “That could have negative consequences for how people perceive that slate . . . and how they perceive Student Union.”