"The interest in the North House Committee has grown, and something good will come out of it," said Deirdre A. McEvoy '94, outgoing North House Committee president, commenting on the strife and bitterness of the recent house committee elections.
We find McEvoy's spin control quite interesting, because the same thing could be said of any divisive, community-damaging event. For example, "Because of the civil war in southern Sudan, the interest in Sudan has grown, and something good will come out of it."
We take a different, less sanguine view of the controversy over house committee elections. Little if any good will come from the conflict, while the resentment and anger will linger for a long time.
The elections were characterized by a remarkable amount of infighting, and their results raised serious constitutional questions. A petition criticizing the election procedure has so far received signatures from over 100 students.
The campaigning this year was characterized by house residents as "nasty." Campaign posters were torn down on a regular basis. In the race for president, posters engaging in personal attacks abounded. For example, one candidate was accused of failing to pay house dues and of not attending committee meetings.
At the conclusion of the elections, two of the candidates, Katherine A. Woo '95 and Marcos D. Velayos '95, were named co-presidents, perhaps because election organizers hoped to avoid a contentious run-off.
Several students have expressed disagreement with the decision to name co-presidents, arguing that the house constitution requires just one president.
Other students disagree with this view; McEvoy claims that while North House has traditionally had only one president, the constitution does not mandate it.
The other constitutional question relates to the house constitution's stipulation that the president win a majority of the votes. While Woo and Velayos were the top two vote getters, neither won a majority in the election.
Consequently, many students have voiced concerns about the election procedure.
These proceedings are pathetic and puzzling at the same time. We have some questions for the students of North House. Why did everyone get so hot and bothered over electing some people whose most important function is to organize house formals? Why did elections for the coordinators of milk-and-cookies get so viciously personal? To paraphrase comedian Jerry Seinfeld: controversial house committee elections--what's the deal with that?
And we have a message for North House: the recent elections were not a battle between the forces of good and evil; they were not an epic struggle for liberty and justice for all; they will not determine the future of our nation and the world.
They were for house committee, for Pete's sake! Take a chill pill.