A Shaky Beginning


Controversy and mix-ups marred the Student Assembly elections this week, and only the Coalition for a Democratic University (CDU) emerged unscathed. The CDU, the assembly's first political party, captured more than a third of the assembly's 96 seats and a small power base.

A complicated and controversial "preferential" voting system that some assembly members say is unconstitutional confused voters in Mather House this week and forced a ballot recount. Kirkland's elections have been delayed until next week, mainly because influential members of the Kirkland House Committee feared that only CDU members would have their position papers in before the original deadline.

The assembly found that it was powerless to reverse the Kirkland House decision. Moreover, the assembly could not prevent minor election bungling in other houses--misprinted ballots in Lowell and Quincy Houses and a volunteer who forgot to put out the ballot box on the second day of voting in North House.

New assembly delegates said this week they fear a loss of credibility because of controversial elections, and they said they will attempt to pass election reforms to insure more uniform, well-run elections next term.

The CDU now must decide how it will use its new-found power base. Party members voted this week not to endorse officially a slate of candidates for the assembly's board of officers, but nevertheless students may expect some behind-the-scenes maneuvering on the part of CDU members, who will be a powerful force in this semester's assembly if they can stay united.