The Student Governance Council — a decision-making body at Ithaca College that is democratically elected — recently decided to keep the final vote count of its election quiet. The voting results were shared with The Ithacan for publication, yet the SGC did not publish them itself. The SGC Elections Committee was not even the one to share the results, but the newly elected SGC members did after students raised their frustrations. Not only is this a failure to uphold the democratic principles that the SGC is founded on, but it sets a dangerous precedent for student governance at the college going forward.
The decision to keep the voting results of an election a secret is part of larger anti-democratic trends happening around the world. The people, who in this case are the student voters at Ithaca College, have a right to know the final count of any election they vote in. This is true no matter how large or small a campaign is, from the president of the United States’ campaign to the president of the SGC’s campaign. The SGC Elections Committee’s decision to hide the results only suggests that they are hiding something; if the election was free and fair, why not release the results?
On top of this, the SGC disqualified a candidate for practicing the basics of running an electoral campaign — hanging posters. Regardless of whether or not the college allows posters to be hung in particular places, the SGC should not disqualify candidates over little technicalities. Candidates putting their names out there through posters is part of how any campaign works. This is a fact that one would hope the members of the SGC — all of whom ran campaigns to get where they are now — would understand.
The students at the college already do not trust the president, her administration and the Board of Trustees. Now, the little access students at the college had to democratic decision-making is being eroded by the SGC. The college community must stand up against these unfair and reckless decisions. Students must hold the SGC accountable for its anti-democratic actions.