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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Three comments on the election

Published: May 2, 2008
Section: Opinions

I would like to write this article on the debate around the Senator-At-Large position. I have been doing a little bit of research and have a lot to say about the election. First of all, I want to make it clear that all of the facts of the following article come from the Justice, the Hoot, or the Student Union Constitutions, and the opinions are mine and mine alone. Although it is beyond election time I just want to make sure that Brooks cannot attribute this article to Shouster in any way. I have three main points to emphasize.

The first comment I have is very short. I want to point out the irony of accusing an Israeli of being Anti-Israel. I’m not saying that those people do not exist, however, it seems… strange as a campaign tactic.

In addition, the most basic look into Shouster’s life would prove otherwise (and I have never met her). The source of this comes from the Justice, “Despite Brooks’ claims about the Shouster campaign, students supporting Brooks’ and Sulsky’s campaigns sent e-mails to Students United for Israel regarding Shouster and Mohamed, insinuating that the two candidates are opposed to Israel.” Again, accusing an Israeli (Shouster) of being opposed to Israel.

The second comment is somewhat nitpicklike, if you forgive the made-up word. Although I mostly hate politicians who do this themselves, I feel that this contradiction needs publication. A lot of this election has been around the topic of Palestine and candidates accusing and defending against being anti/pro Palestine.

Andrew Brooks has addressed the question of whether he is anti-Palestine a couple of times, once when voting on chartering the Palestinian Club, and again during this campaign. After being disappointed with the club’s charter, Brooks was explaining his problem with the club’s name, “Most people who use that word [Palestine] use it as a reference to a nation that exists, and that’s just historically false, there isn’t a nation that exist[s].” He believed that because the nation did not exist, the word Palestine should not be included in the club’s name.

After filing the injunction for this election, he was again interviewed by the Justice and spoke again about his opinions regarding Palestine, “Brooks said that he does not deny the existence of the Palestinian nation.”

Although this is a small contradiction, I just want to bring to light the disagreement between the two statements. I do not want to get into a discussion of how I think Brooks feels about the Palestinian, mainly because I am not sure he knows, but I just want to bring this to your attention.

My third and most severe comment on this election, is that this is not the first time that Andrew Brooks has received a benefit of a questionable ruling to aid his campaign for Senator-At-Large.

I would like to tell you the story of the 2006 Senator-At-Large election. There were, of course, two slots for Senator-At-Large. The first round proved a very close race for the second slot. Shreeya Sinha won the first slot and both Andrew Brooks and James Ansorge were separated by two votes after the first round with Ansorge in the lead. Then, the election changed forever. James Ansorge violated the Student Election rules. He violated the most sacred rules known to the Brandeis elections.

“The violation occurred when Ansorge’s friend used staples to tack fliers to residence hall doors. The Union provides masking tape for fliers, but not staples,” according to the Justice.

Ansorge used staples as opposed to tape and therefore was penalized in the second round, “As penalty, next to Ansorge’s name on the Student Union candidate profiles Web page, in red letters, a message read: “This candidate has violated one or more election rules.’” In the second round Ansorge lost around 30 votes to make Brooks the winner of the second Senator-At-Large slot.

In an interview afterwards Ansorge claimed, “That [the penalty] very clearly cost me the election.” Brooks, the winner of this mishap spoke differently. Although Ansorge lost around 30 votes from the first election to the second, Brooks said, “I don’t think it played as big of a role as some people asserted […] In the end people voted for the person they liked.”

According to the Justice, the violation was reported anonymously. I am not accusing Brooks of reporting, mainly because the crime was committed in Rosenthal and he was a freshman, but winning because of unauthorized staples is nothing to be proud of.

With that story finished, I would like to point out that another election regarding Brooks is being contested. I will admit that this time the dispute is about libel and slander, which is much more serious than a staple, but eventually Mr. Brooks will have to face the reality that he lost.

I wish Brooks would just let the Senate move on with life and realize that he did not lose because of anything illegal. He lost because more students voted for the other candidates. I would like to give Mr. Brooks some advice: If you really wanted to contest the decision, you should have done it under Article 25, Section 30 of the Union Constitution (aka the sore loser clause). Note: Article 25, Section 30 of the Union Constitution (aka the sore loser clause) does not exist.