Update:    ESC Constitutional Review is underway! An ardent and opinionated public of record numbers (four people) was just turned away from the meeting as the ESC enforced its closed doors policy. Junior Class Representative Samantha John vocalized an appeal to overlook the closed doors policy for the discussion on internal elections, which she viewed as “pertinent to the student body, not just the council.” Liz Strauss reminded us decisively that under constitutional law, she had no authority to make a meeting open, only to make it closed. There is drama in the Satow Room tonight.


Intrepid ESC Correspondent Tony Gong inquires into the mysteries of flyer-less class council elections.


In case you haven’t heard enough about politics lately, the annual debate over the Engineering Student Council executive board process, an internal system by which the council elects itself, has been rekindled in light of ESC’s ongoing constitutional review. But this time, people are angry. And writing articles.

The issue became active again last Friday, with a comprehensive opinion piece against internal elections. But it didn’t end there – three ESC members dramatically countered with their equally lengthy defense of internal elections, which printed in the same issue of Spec. Overall, engineers wrote more in a day than they had in six years, so everyone took the weekend off and did some math.

The arguments for holding internal elections primarily tout the practicality of the current system: “It is a fact that ESC gets the job done by making sure that kid gets to do his or her job…Internal elections help ensure that the elected officials are the ones who will put the students before their future jobs.” ESC gets the job done, indeed.

However, Samantha John, SEAS ’09 and a co-writer of the article against the current system, doesn’t believe unqualified candidacy would be a problem, even with direct elections. She cites the non-executive board candidates of ESC, which are, in fact, directly elected, as evidence: “The ESC general elections for the rest of the council usually attracts pretty solid people…Nobody in ESC is really in it as much for their resume or career because if you’re in SEAS and you really care about your career you probably need to go to the library.”

Moreover, David Albert, SEAS ’09, draws the important distinction between a club and the ESC: “Just as the leadership of the College Democrats is responsible to the members of their club, so is the ESC responsible to the SEAS student body…The leadership of the Dems is directly elected by their constituency. The E-board of the ESC should be elected in the same way.”

Have something to say? ESC strongly encourages you to either e-mail esc@columbia.edu with thoughts, or attend the ESC meeting tonight 10:15 pm in the Satow Room in Lerner, where the ESC is holding its amendment review on the matter.  Slide rules required.