ESC to elect itself, again

Written by

jhgCCSC elections aren’t the only democratic contest going on this month–starting at 11:00 PM on Monday, anyone who wants to run for Engineering Student Council executive board positions can nominate themselves by e-mail. But don’t start practicing your flesh pressing and baby kissing: all you have to do is appeal to a small fraction of the SEAS student body, because Councilmembers are the only ones whose votes count. Again.

There are two ways to change ESC elections procedures. You can put them on the ballot as a referendum, which requires 150 signatures and the approval of 2/3 of the Council, or you can propose a constitutional amendment, which requires the approval of 2/3 of the council. Last year, an attempt to change the system of internal elections failed rather pathetically when, although 67% of students voted against them in a referendum, the results of the vote were nullified because of low turnout. Last week, a similar constitutional amendment went before the Council, and “unfortunately” failed yet again to recieve the necessary support, according to ESC President Dan Okin (who called internal elections, by which he was voted into office, “a bad system”).

So you can’t vote for your president, and you can’t vote on whether you can vote for your president, and even if you are allowed to, your vote isn’t counted. And when Bwog tried to find out the percentage of those voting against the most recent attempt to bring democracy to SEAS, we learned that that information is secret and the vote was closed to the student body. At least you don’t have to look people in the eye while they screw you?


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  1. I would

    rather have internal elections than all this CCSC campaigning drama-bullshit. I honestly don't give a shit who said what to whom in the SGO about whatever in the elections and who called whom. Let's be serious, no one gets shit done anyway. I'd rather have to not deal with this campaigning cutthroat ridiculousness.

  2. then  

    you are probably on the engineering council.

    fucking moron. do you think we're stupid?

  3. Proud Engineer  

    At least the ESC gets things accomplished.

    I'd rather be in SEAS and get the most competent player than be in the "democracy of the CCSC". All you really get to do is choose the lesser of two mediocre evils (or three in this case) who all have the same campaign: triumph over the greatest evil which is the Columbia bureaucracy!

  4. An engineer  

    Not enough people care in SEAS who's on their student council to justify direct elections. It's sad, but it's simply the system we have. It makes sense for ESC to vote internally, because they have a much better idea of who's going to work hard for the council, get things done, and has a genuine interest in the well-being of the student body. So the system with ESC says more about the student body than the council itself.

    And no, I'm not connected to student government in any way.

  5. not an engineer  

    this is exactly why all SEAS students should be forced to take CC...

  6. The first comment

    was not left by someone on the ESC. I don't know how many of you have ever worked with the councils for anything, but the ONLY efficient council is the ESC. CCSC has as much bureaucracy as the administration and it is quite frustrating to run for office as well as get things accomplished. The ESC has found a system that works, why mess with it? Making it a public election makes it more a popularity contest, and I would much rather have a loser who knows what he/she is doing than Mr./Ms. Popularity running the show.

  7. commenter #2  

    Comment #8 was left by the same person as comment #1. He/she refers to himself/herself in the third person because he/she is a fucking moron.

    The US government would "get more stuff done" and be "more efficient" if we had a dictator. Does that mean we should abolish congress and the supreme court?

    Fucking moron. Do you think we're stupid?

    • Hmm  

      Honestly, do you really think ESC is comparable to the federal government of a country of 300 million people? If most commenters had actually learned anything in CC, they'd know that a representative democracy is not actually the best system of government in all cases. Why is CCSC objectively "better" than ESC for having direct elections? There is something to be said for internal elections, which ensure that someone who knows the system and has had experience working with the administration ends up continuing to work with the administration. Frankly, I don't think a popular outsider would be effective. And I say that as a popular outsider!

  8. Shit  

    I am outraged that the ESC elects itself internally, just like the Trustees of Columbia University.

    • commenter #2  

      You fucking moron.

      ESC should have direct elections because it's supposed to represent the student body. Just like the US government is supposed to represent the people. The Trustees of CU in the city of NY aren't supposed to represent the university population, so they're not elected by the university population.

  9. i know  

    it's stupid to ask a serious question on bwog, but what makes ESC more effecient than CCSC? most importantly, how exactly do internal elections have anything to do with effeciency/effectiveness? that seems to me more correlation than causation

  10. moph

    i'm not convinced there's even correlation.

    some years, esc is effective. some years, ccsc is effective. some years, both or none are. i'd hesitate to attribute that to their respective election systems. and our data is somewhat skewed because two recent esc presidents were unopposed, and at least half of the recent ccsc presidential campaigns involved insiders running against each other.

    i'd argue that making student councils more representative is an inherent good, but whatever.

  11. i agree

    and ESC, the Trustees, and even the democratically elected CCSC get very little done. Any type of governing body on this campus is a joke -- they're all inevitably mired in the bureaucracy.

  12. #include  

    int main()
    int i;
    for(i=0; 1; i++)
    case 1:
    printf("Do they think we're fucking stupid?");
    case 2:
    printf("Do YOU think I'M fucking stupid?!?");
    case 3:
    printf("College students know democracy, because they've read Locke AND Hobbes");
    case 4:
    printf("\"Democracy\" is very important");
    case 5:
    printf("SEAS knows efficiency, because we took Gateway Lab, and thus know the power of one person with too much power");

  13. Paul Wolfowitz  

    CCSC should export democracy to SEAS.

    As Dick would say, we'll be greeted as liberators.

  14. sev  

    SEAS doesn't need to elect its council! That's what the Ms. and Mr. SEAS pageant is for!

  15. Stalin

    In school of Soviet Engineering And Science, ESC vote for YOU.

  16. ahhhhh  

    what about barnard?

  17. hobbes  

    hobbes? wasn't he for monarchy?

  18. yes  

    but the people had the duty to kill him and shred his body if he didn't do his job. or something like that.

    all i know is, the leviathan, it's made of people.

  19. strange  

    okin doesn't oppose internal elections....he has always supported them before.

    • anonymous coward  

      actually, he supported them last year too... he created the referendum when the amendment didn't go through the council then. maybe he does like them, but publicly he definitely wants direct elections.

  20. hobbes again  

    wait, so hobbes was not for monarchy?

    I understand the monarch was supposed to work for the common good of the people but he was a monarch nonetheless?

  21. Adam Goldberg  

    Outrage! The internal elections process creates a culture on council where dissent is not allowed.

  22. curious  

    No Quick Eye this week?

  23. Bwog

    Sucks. No offense. But come on.

  24. Well  

    Most SEAS kids are too busy doing work to notice/care about ESC elections.

    It's still better than CC sophomores who skimmed through Hobbes and Locke and think they are experts on governing structures.

  25. Face it  

    SEAS gets a lot more done. CCSC elects its members directly. Fine. If you were at the University Senate hearings 2 days ago you would have seen a clear difference in eloquence between Seth Flaxman (nonsensical ignorance) and Dan Okin (convincing, strategic speaking).

    And they say engineers dont know how to speak English.

    ESC doesn't need to directly elect its leaders because

    1) SEAS is far too small. If one person got his floor to vote for him he'd win because no one votes to begin with.

    2) ESC members are more efficient at their jobs (thats probably from IEOR and maximizing and minimizing differential equations)

    3) ESC is less than half the size of CCSC if you include class councils yet does the same, if not more work (see Assassins, E Week etc)

    4) ESC doesn't have infighting for months on end which results in an ineffectual council

    5) ESC actually wants to better this university. And who knows who will do the best job of this other than those who work with the movers and shakers. Lets face it. Some CCSC guys get elected because they're popular rather than because they've done anything that will help the University.

    • um,  

      only the first reason could possibly apply. the other 4 (even though they have been true recently) are basically saying "we'll do a good job, so don't bother voting for us."

      also, elections are popularity contests no matter what.

      • disagree  

        I disagree. Although the other 3 points don't argue against the *concept* of direct elections, they point out how the ESC system is working fine for it. It is speculation to say that direct elections would make things worse, but I have reasons to believe that it wouldn't make things better.

        To add to the "what does ESC do" statements, ESC also does many things behind the scenes, and also does the majority of the work on things that CCSC then gets all the credit for (in the Spec, etc.).

  26. umm  

    but i don't think people who think Bush is inefficient would argue that disenfranchiesment is a good solution

  27. Get the facts  

    Read the Spec article from last year. 67% of SEAS students voted in favor of direct elections, but only 33% of students even voted AT ALL. Therefore, the math works out to 266 students out of 1200 SEAS undergrads who want direct elections. OF COURSE it didn't go through.


    • Can you not read?  

      ...which is EXACTLY what the original post states although not in such clear cut terms. That is, "although 67% of students [who voted] voted against them in a referendum, the results of the vote were nullified because of low turnout."

      And what do you mean OF COURSE? If 67% of those who voted were against internal elections, shouldn't ESC listen to the majority of the population that actually cares about ESC (i.e., the population that voted?).

      Whatever. It looks like all the people commenting are Dan Okin incarnations defending the legitimacy of the fascist council...no point in arguing with them.

    • engineers  

      should have a better understanding of statistical sampling than that obvious bullshit... did you know that way more voting-age Americans have *not* voted for any of our last dozen presidents than *have* voted for them!? they've all stolen power illegally!!!!1

      (also, more bwog comments should be written in C)

  28. Sad  

    What I think is the saddest part in this whole issue is the fact that only 33% of SEAS students cared enough about the direct/indirect elections to click a link in an ESC e-mail, log in, and click "Direct" or "Indirect". A perhaps 5 minute process.

    I think what this shows is that if there was a third option, "Please don't ever bother me, I'm studying," the SEAS kids would take it. So it looks like the ESC is giving the majority of students exactly what they want: one less minute of their time spent.

  29. chimbaba  

    joseph matuk is gay

  30. yes  

    Bwog has exactly the right take on this.

  31. SEAS kid  

    Engineers have resigned themselves to a college life of misery doing problem sets and trying to read indecipherable textbooks, and nothing ESC can do will help, so why bother voting and/or caring?

  32. I think  

    that the ESC is like a Parliament and lots of parliamentary systems work perfectly fine. The constituency elects the class councils, the liaisons, and various reps and then they in turn elect the e-board. Therefore, the student body's voice is heard by the people they directly elect. If you don't trust these people to vote in your best interest, then why elect them in the first place? Each position o the e-board is elected individually and you don't need to vote all-or-nothing for a whole party, making ESC better. We don't vote for a whole party to govern, actually very few countries do, so if you want to liken any governing board to an actual government, ESC is proven to be closer to that of a Parliamentary system.

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