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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Practicing what we preach

Published: April 3, 2009
Section: Opinions

Last Sunday, the Student Union considered a bylaw amendment which would ban forms of bribery in Student Union elections. In other words, the amendment would prevent Union candidates from promising favors and positions to others in exchange for support or for not contesting a candidate’s run.

Many Executive Board positions, the spots most likely to be promised in a pre-election deal, are appointed, not elected. As such, we depend on the discretion and judgment of our elected campus leaders to fill the E-board based strictly on merit, not on politics.

The issue is important, and one that the entire student body deserves to understand. Calling executive session in order to discuss the bylaw is simply unacceptable.

This editorial board has called time and again for our leaders to behave with integrity and a strong sense of community responsibility, even when no rules exist to control their actions.

As we have seen at the many forums with President Jehuda Reinharz following the initial announcement about the Rose Art Museum, the student body holds the administration to a high standard of integrity. It only follows that we would hold our Union officials to that same standard.

Certainly in the real world of politics, backroom dealings and favor exchanges are commonplace. But this is not the real world. College campuses are a locus of change, activism, and idealism. The Student Union itself advocates for social justice and transparency for the university administration. They should expect the same from themselves. Going into executive session in an effort to exclude members of the press during a highly important discussion reflects the very behavior the Union has condemned in the administration. The Union cannot advocate for that which it does not practice.