Chung Slings Mud at Diamond Over “Secret Deal”

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mudslingingHaving garnered seven big-name endorsements, including that of the Columbia Political Union, Michelle Diamond ’08 is widely considered the frontrunner in the upcoming CCSC elections. However, it is just those endorsements that have placed her and her party, One Columbia, under fire for accusations of wrongdoing.

Rebel CC Presidential candidate Tracy Chung ’08 filed three rules violations against Diamond at midnight on Monday. The primary violation, which was provided to Bwog, alleges that SGB treasurer Jonathan Siegel (also the CC 2008 class treasurer) and SGB representative Jessie Leiken had approached Diamond with an “endorsement deal” early in the campaign.

In a previously unpublished Bwog interview that took place in February, Siegel discussed past funding difficulties: “In the past, the relations between the SGB [which provides funding for groups such as the College Democrats and the Columbia Political Union] and the Council haven’t been very good.”

The Student Council cut the SGB budget at the end of 2002-2003 school year and had continued to cut $20,000 each subsequent year, forcing the SGB into debt. Last May, the SGB told Seth Flaxman’s administration that $140,000 was the smallest number they could survive on. According to Siegel, the group was given $139,000. Sunday night, he said, “SGB groups are independent and wouldn’t take their marching orders from us.” But, he added, “SGB groups do care about how SGB is funded.”

Chung’s rules violation alleges that Siegel sought to find a way around the CCSC elections provision that “candidates may not be endorsed by the… Student Governing Board.” A member of CCSC showed Chung a series of four emails from Siegel and Leiken. These emails include a request by Leiken “to talk about what the SGB does, its role in the upcoming CCSC elections, and your campaign aspirations.” Siegel sent a list of SGB’s budget allocations over the past four school years. In the final email, dated February 1, Leiken wrote, “Michelle just promised us that she and everyone running with her would sign a pledge to finance the SGB.”

The rules violation alleges that Diamond signed a pledge to provide $180,000 to SGB as CCSC President.

Siegel says the deal was offered to all prospective Presidential candidates at the time – late January – and was intended to be a public move to bolster CCSC’s funding. “The reason we wanted a signed thing was because candidates have often promised things and not done it,” Siegel said Sunday night.

Diamond confirmed his story. “What I said to [the SGB] was that I think that SGB funding should be increased, and I’d be interested.” But, she added, “as soon as both SGB and I found out that this would be in violation of the rules, I decided I was not going to sign it.” Her platform is committed to increasing SGB funding but was told by current Executive Board members that the pledge both could violate election rules and was unrealistic. The CCSC President does not have sole discretionary power over funding. and Diamond passed on the opportunity to sign the document. Subash Iyer ’07, head of the elections board, made clear in a letter to the CCSC that any pledge that bore the implication of an endorsement was dead, and Siegel said he has spoken to Diamond in an official capacity only once since then – to tell her the deal was off.

Chung, who recently noted her difficulty receiving endorsements throughout the campaign, filed two additional rules violations: one alleging that Diamond’s presentation to the Inter-Greek Council violated rules against IGC endorsements (though no endorsement was made) and one noting the an increased amount of Class of 2008 emails written by Diamond (the class Vice President), allegedly violating direct email campaigning by candidates. In her rules violation paperwork, Chung calls the SGB/Diamond link “shocking and unacceptable.”


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  1. this is stupid  

    sounds like michelle diamong is trying to unite students to get more resources. whatever. sounds good to me.

  2. DHI  



  3. Anonymous  

    Hey Bwog:

    I don't think this article is fair to the other two candidates. It does a great job highlighting Michelle's support for SGB groups, but doesn't mention that the other two candidates have also made campaign pledges to improve student group funding.

    From Natalie Segovia's Voice ticket
    CCSC funding has been a torturous process in the past for many groups, especially governing boards such as SGB, ABC, Community Impact, Inter-Greek Council and Club Sports. We are committed to being equitable in our funding of student governing boards, and specifically commit to increasing funding in order to level the playing field between student groups. As far as openness goes, we also believe that student groups have a right to know about the decision-making process in allocating funds. This is especially relevant to the CCSC co-sponsorship, which we will ensure is much more transparent and accessible for student group funding appeals and co-sponsorship requests.

    From Tracy Chung's Rebel CC (
    We feel that the current approach to funding is very reactionary. We feel that it would be for the benefit of all to sit down and plan long-term funding plans with each student group that seeks money from the CCSC. This will serve to build up the student group programs and initiatives while serving to organize CCSC finances that will allow the CCSC to appropriate in a more effective manner. We propose that the VP of Funding meet with SGB and student group heads at the beginning of each semester to create a personalized financial plan. This will allocate funds more efficiently and in turn, free up funds.

    As Jonathan pointed out in his personal statement to Spec
    Hopefully, all the candidates will put major thought into their positions and policies, as the councils make decicions that have serious impact on the Columbia community. Without a doubt, the most important of these is the funding of the Student Governing Board.

    Jonathan's (publicly stated) goal was to get SGB funding identified as a problem issue by outreach to all candidates. As the platforms show, he's been successful.

  4. Anonymous  

    to promise something that you certainly know it's not feasible. Even if you didn’t sign a paper, promising something that you know is unrealistic (because She has worked with CCSC, so she clearly knows) IS stupid.
    But it’s valid. That’s how it works: someone runs promising things and nothings gets done because the promises were unrealistic.

  5. segovia  

    in particular seems pro-sgb

  6. poorly written  

    this post is.

  7. Hmmm  

    "A member of CCSC showed Chung a series of four emails"... it sounds like George Krebs is trying to mess with Michelle.

    What a sore loser.

  8. Anonymous  

    It's also not fair to Leiken or Siegel to not disclose who they were corresponding with. The emails were written to George Krebs, in January when it was speculated that he and Diamond were the two candidates running, simultaneous to their discussions with Diamond. Bwog knows this, but for some reason chose to list Krebs as simply "A member of CCSC."

  9. oh my god  

    Well all I know is that as a leader of the minority constituency on campus that She went around telling many groups of plans to incorporate CSCC into our student groups in order to forge new bonds and to support our community. However, I am very disappointed to find out that she has neither followed up nor sought many of our endorsements is tragic at least to me.

    Also the Rules committee has been lax regarding the rules. Im sure nothing besides a slap on the wrist will happen.


  10. somewhere  

    in the darkest corner of hell, dan okin is smiling.

  11. tracy chung  

    sounds like a bitch, if bwog can be trusted, but i dont know her really

  12. ten bucks  

    says spec endorses chung tomorrow to make more of a story out of this

  13. well  

    they're not the only ones alleging rules violations (hint: it involves modesitt and the go party)

  14. purple  

    Why do people keep saying Okin hates Diamond? spill.

    • because  

      he doesn't want her in the Nacoms

      • because  

        maybe her prior relationship with dave chait puts her into the Sachems? who knows... but i doubt he is smiling in hell. probably just in his room

        • well  

          i don't know if it has anything to do with chait in this world. okin spent a lot of time working on advising only to get one-upped by michelle in a claim for credit. i think that would piss off any of us.

          on top of that, the whole shit with her saying stuff she wasn't supposed to say, as corroborated by student affairs, is a pretty good reason for okin to not like her. now, i'm not saying he does, because how the fuck would i know, but still, she almost ruined a lot of his work and that is valid reason to be upset at the least.

          just to return to the whole going against the dean of student affairs, why would we want to elect someone who would do that? i can't see a reason for colombo to tell michelle anything any more, so does that mean she'll be out of the loop? it doesn't matter for me because i'm in SEAS and liz is going to be an amazing president anyways...

          • thank you esc

            for your comments. that michelle doesn't take gag orders from colombo is more admirable than okin's unwavering marriage to administration.

            okin's just sour because his friends over at abc (he used to be abc treasurer) think that an increase in sgb funding is a decrease in their funding. they're right, because the decrease in sgb funding was an increase in abc funding. i'm a member of groups in both boards, i've seen it.

            segovia and diamond are both quite explicit is saying they'd like to swing things back a little towards sgb groups, chung not so much. Her plan seems to be more of a micromanagement of group funding by student council folk. Very Okin-esque. Is she the candidate okin-hernandez finally found when they were looking for anyone with a pulse to run against michelle? what did they offer her to try? did they offer her a spot on some sort of secret society?

          • actually  

            okin has talked with seigel and has pledged his support to help increase sgb's funding this year due to the inequities put in place by previous councils. you should know your stuff before you say something.



          • seriously  

            The entire thing has nothing to do with Dan Okin. He was not in the meeting where advising was discussed and asked to be kept out of the papers for the moment. Michelle was, and disregarded it.

            Dan and Keith did not put anyone in to this election. Both are incredibly committed to student groups on campus and Dan is working very hard to improve funding to all the governing boards.

            Stop trying to make him the villain here!

          • don't be stupid  

            if you think that the student councils have any real power over what is changed in academic advising and what is not then you're just plain naive.

            yes, the student councils started this conversation, and yes, the student councils made sure that the administration heard the students' complaints. but don't think for a second that what the students want will automatically equate to what the students get.

            everything in the world is run with money, and in order to make changes you need funding. how do you double the number of advisers if you can't pay them? the answer is you can't. clearly, colombo told the student governments of proposed changes to the current system, but it is doubtful that those changes are definite at this point because it is doubtful that there is money to make it happen.

            so if michelle diamond wants to publicize plans that don't have a solid foundation, then she may just be setting herself up for a fall. that dan okin and the esc refrained from telling the student body what progress had been made on a project that has been so long in the making is a reflection of their strong desire to make sure that everything happens in the *right* manner.

            #39...don't become a politician. you don't have the brains for it.

          • yeah  

            comment 37 is so written by dan okin

      • Umm  

        who gives a flying fuck about the Nacoms or the Sachems?

  15. fuck  

    this is what you get when women run for election.

    we need a man to lead us.

  16. no offense  

    spec and bwog, you both kind of messed up reporting this one. the fact is that there was a deal made by a CCSC candidate and some people from SGB and that behind closed door meetings and lack of transparency will continue if you elect Michelle. Neither of you really said that. Also that the Dems Endorsment essentially is an SGB endorsement. looks like the SGB told their big groups to support One Columbia because of the money promise!

    • frumph  

      "and that behind closed door meetings and lack of transparency will continue if you elect Michelle. Neither of you really said that."

      Maybe because...that's an opinion.
      That's a good point about the big group's endorsements though. Could be a coincidence, or something else. Wait for more facts to come out about this.

      • Anonymous  

        If the SGB Exec Board was conspiring to get Diamond endorsements, she'd have 15-20 SGB group endorsements by now, including endorsements from MSA and SJME (me), Ad Hoc Magazine (Alex Jung's), Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Veritas (Joseph Ho), Hillel (Ariela Rosenberg), Amnesty International and HSO (Arjun Kapoor), etc.

        That hasn't happened because the conspiracy doesn't exist. But please don't think we tried and failed. That's insulting!

  17. listen guys,  

    The Spec endorsed One Columbia today! I feel like the Spec would not do this if they felt that these claims were truw in any way.

  18. Matt S.  

    But what about Matt Schoenfeld?

  19. sky is falling  

    It sounds like Michelle is willing to stop at nothing to ensure that her dark dominion falls across Morningside Heights next year. Rebel! Vive le revolution!

    • vive le... haha  

      More like it sounds that rebel is doing anything it can to have a slight chance of a victory it is neither qualified for nor deserving of.

      The real conspiracy might be between an ambitious politician and Chung (check out the end of the spec article).

  20. Reason  

    It should really be clear from all this how incestuous and insular the CCSC and SGB really are.

    I'd actually prefer to see a complete overhaul of the entire current government; I literally can't stand any one of them.

  21. felipophile  

    what about felipe?

  22. Reason  

    I stand corrected; Felipe is ace.

    May he live long and prosper.

  23. Sherlock Holmes  

    Correlation does not imply causation, according to Scientific Habits of Mind.

    How about that, then?

  24. ???  

    the student government is ridiculously insular and insider-y and its a huge problem. but, i have no problem with candidates making binding pledges to increase SGB funding in exchange for SGB support. i dont see why that should be a rules violation. any of them could approach SGB, and they could compete. if they would actually sign on to something concrete, like a $ number for SGB, maybe there would be a basis for us who don't know the inside and out of CCSC personalities and politics to make an informed vote.

    also, bwog's article on this is better than Spec's, which seems to really want to excuse Diamond because she didn't "sign" anything, strangely enough coinciding with their endorsement today...

  25. i think  

    tracy chung is just bitter that she is going to lose, and is pulling out the last stops against the frontrunner. someone is playing dirty, and i don't think it's michelle.

  26. Swedish Fish  

    To anyone that knows the details, it's quite clear that Michelle breached policy.

    Will anything happen as a result? No.

    Columbia should do away with elections; let it be ruled by the hoi polloi.

  27. To be fair, though  

    You're a moron.

  28. all i can say is  

    When I see a candidate who believes in reorienting the priorities of CCSC towards funding the things most students care about (the clubs they are most involved with, whether that's ABC, SGB or whatever) and away from the things only CCSC members care about (stroking their egos by throwing gigantic parties), then I will give that person my enthusiastic, total support.

    So far, no one has promised that.

    For the amount of money it took to throw Glass Hosue Rocks, which by most accounts sucked, my personal favorite SGB group (which has had major budget cuts this year) could survive for almost 5 years. Before CCSC cut the budget of SGB, imperiling highly successful programs we've presented year after year, they should look in other places. I bet they would find plenty of fat to trim.

    Some serious redress of this situation is in order. Pledging a specific dollar amount to SGB is vastly different from making an empty promise of general future support. I'm glad this "violation" came to light because it points out who's on which side of the SGB issue.

    • I agree  

      with all that you've said. Making sure that student group support is there is a top priority for every candidate. However, I have yet to hear any candidate pledge to bring in more money from the administration to make this happen. All of the student governments, as far as I understand, are without the lubricating cash necessary to increase the amount of money given to governing boards. Someone needs to push for that... and fast.

    • Finally  

      Someone who has it figured out. Glass House Rocks spent a ton of money to give freshmen with no ID's something to do with their night.

      I find it funny that there is such political intrigue over the funding of SGB and ABC when CI, Club Sports, and Inter-Greek Council (as far as I'm aware) get a lot more. Then again those latter 3 boards and individual groups probably couldn't care less about student council politics.

  29. keith actually  

    put the Voice party together; this is a fact, and then he decided that he was going to "help" One Columbia with whatever sense of "pull" that deluded character thinks he has

    so sad.

  30. agreed  

    The budgeting at Columbia far too heavily favors spending money on unecessary parties that are not any better than regular parties, when those parties cost the entire budgets of groups that actually NEED money to function.

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