Tuesday, April 6, 2010

2010 SGA election thoughts

Voting for the 2010-2011 Student Government Association elections are over at Concord. The results will be announced at the April 7, SGA meeting.

I've been covering the SGA elections in my blog quite a bit over the last week or so. I've had a few people ask me why. About a week ago, I was talking to one of my friends who follows me on Twitter. He was asking what these interviews were that I kept tweeting about. I told him they were for the SGA elections. His response - "I don't get that. I mean, you don't even write for the paper anymore, how did you get roped into doing that?" I explained that it was just for my blog. He responded - "So, this is just some sort of journalism side project you're doing, or something like that?"

I guess that's the best way to put it - a journalism side project. A couple people I interviewed started off by apologizing for taking up my time and inconveniencing me. I had to explain to them that I actually enjoy doing stuff like this.

As dumb as it sounds, I feel as though it's almost an obligation for me to disseminate this information. As a journalist, I have the means and ability to get news out there, so I do it. That's why I've started blogging so much more about the SGA over the last couple years. This important student organization doesn't get enough press in the campus newspaper, so I do my part to spread the word, so to speak.

It's what I used to do in The Concordian, only I now do it in this blog. Well, I've added a lot more commentary and opinion. It's the same principle as what I used to do. Just in an easier-to-read, online forum. Plus, my blog has a much-easier-on-the-eyes blue layout, as opposed to that cringe-worthy maroon of The Concordian. I seriously hate that color.

Even though I give a lot of commentary, and some say that my opinion is interesting, I didn't offer any election picks. That was a very conscious decision for me. I had a few people (election candidates, mostly) ask me if I was going to post my "picks." 

This was a situation where I didn't want to sway people with my opinions. I wanted to do what any good "news man" can do - I gave you the facts and let you make up your own mind. I asked everybody pretty much the same questions and let you know how they reacted to them. Some handled the questions well. Some were a little nervous. A couple asked me to not print parts of their interview after the fact, a request I honored.

* * *

With the election process over, I figured now would be an okay time to throw out a little commentary on a couple of the "big issues" going on in the 2010-2011 elections.

The first big issue is the perceived "divide" between certain members of the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon. There are two "TKEs" running for President - Matt Belcher and Korey Hummer. Chris Matheny, also a TKE, is running for Attorney General. Matheny is publicly supporting Hummer for President.

The big name in all of this discussion is Curtis Kearns. He was originally running for President before announcing his retirement from the SGA. The big rumor going around at the time was that he dropped out of the race in an effort to save face from a perceived election-related threat against him and that he was going to use Hummer as his "hand-picked" Presidential candidate.

I thought it was a bit of a stretch, but I asked Korey about it in his interview. He gave me what felt like an honest answer - Curtis is his friend and he'll go to him for advice, but he's not running his campaign. I informally asked a few other people about this subject and they all gave me essentially the same answer - Curtis Kearns isn't running Hummer's campaign, but he wants to do anything in his power to make sure Matt Belcher isn't elected SGA President.

From looking at the situation, it doesn't look so much like a "TKE Divide." It doesn't seem like it's very split down the middle - it seems like most of the TKEs are supporting Hummer. It looks like Belcher is the proverbial "odd man out" in this sense.

I could be wrong. It's happened before. Those guys know a lot more about that situation than I do.

* * *

Another issue that I noticed popping up with the candidates is that none of them presented them being elected as something that necessarily needed to happen. I asked all the candidates for contested positions what they would do if they weren't elected. In a nutshell, they all pretty much said, "I'll continue working on my goals I set out. I'll also try to offer ideas to whoever is elected."

It's not a big deal if Ashley Green doesn't become Vice President. She'll keep plugging along and she'll try to work with Dustin Blankenship. Similarly, it's not a big deal if Dustin Blankenship doesn't become Vice President. He'll keep plugging along and he'll try to work with Ashley Green.

Nobody said, "These goals won't be accomplished if I'm not elected." Nobody gave their campaign that sense of urgency. I think that's one reason this election season lacked a lot of the "drama" of past years. I just get the impression that it doesn't matter who wins, because everybody will keep working on their campaign initiatives and also try to help whoever does win.

One of the reasons I think people were asking me to post my picks is because all the contested elections were seemingly so close. There's no clear-cut winner in any of the races. At this point in time, anybody can win. Well, the votes have been counted, so somebody has already won. But, most people will actually be surprised when the results are announced.

I think it really would have helped somebody to put over the urgency of electing them, to get over the fact that they need the position of President/VP/Attorney General to accomplish their goals.

* * *

The last issue I'd like to address is tickets - a group of different candidates unofficially running together. The way they're presently organized, I don't understand tickets and don't think they serve a purpose.

Really, the only ticket that ever really worked was the original ticket - the 2006 group of Rocky Seay, Brandon Brewster, and Danielle Richmond. That ticket worked for two reasons - 1) it was a small ticket, only three people. 2) They unofficially ran against another ticket.

The biggest problems with tickets is that they've just turned out to be a group of people running to get their names together. The original 2006 ticket actually stood for something. And, I think it says something that the two contested positions (Seay & Richmond) won. Of course, that whole thing came crumbling down over the summer of 06. I may blog more about that soon...

Last year's "Fix It Ticket" is a perfect example of assembling a ticket for the wrong reasons. First of all, the ticket had something like 6 members. And only 2 or 3 of those people were running contested positions. To top it off, there were only 3 other people in the entire election. They weren't running as a ticket. 

It was 6 people, 4 of whom didn't need to be there, running as a collective unit. Another part of the problem was that it was so painfully obvious that some of these people didn't like each other and were only "ticketing" for political reasons.

This year's "New Deal Ticket" seems to be together for the same reasons. I just get the feeling Matt Belcher looked around and said, "Hey, can I put your name on this ticket?"

* * *

I don't know. That's just a purging of some SGA thoughts I've had in my head over the last week. If you agree, that's cool. If you don't, that's cool. You can leave a comment and tell me if you think I'm way off base or whatever. 

Speaking of comments, I'm kind of surprised that more people didn't use the comments sections of the interview blogs to question a candidate or offer a rebuttal. The only interview that really had any sort of debate on it was Kelsey Queen's. She had a couple anonymous people speaking against her, a couple anonymous people for her, and the current Attorney General, Bill Lewis, speaking in support of her.

Anyway, here's my disclaimer - I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free. 


  1. This is Matthew Belcher. I cannnot speak for the guys in TKE, I will say there are more than 3 guys that make up our fraternity. I also want to state that I didn't go around looking for names to place on my ticket I looked for people who would help me lead by providing insight from different backgrounds. I did not want "yes men", not saying that other people in this race are "yes men" but I knew these people weren't and that's what I felt I needed should I be elected president.

  2. About the TKE thing, I was mostly going by what I've seen on Facebook - I've seen several members giving their support to Korey Hummer. But, again, you guys know a lot more about that situation than I do.

  3. Chris,

    I will not go into a long spill about little things and nit pick. We have had some long talks as of late, but I must say this article in your blog is very disappointing.

    P.S. I still have that book

  4. You can't always make everybody happy. Maybe you'll like the next one.

  5. I know this is a blog, which means you can write what you want and not need the support or facts to back it up, but are you not supposed to be a journalist? Your Blogs get more and more about gossip with each posting. As a man dedicating his school career to Journalism and the newspaper I would think you could have the common respect for it to check your facts and not just spread the rumors. While we all appreciate your opinion (please note the sarcasm) I speak for myself, and others, in saying SHUT UP.

  6. I don't see where I'm "more and more about gossip with each posting."

    I will admit that with this post I touched on a bit of "gossip." But, I think you can clearly see that I noted multiple times that I don't know the full story. I'm not presenting any of it as fact. I'm just saying "I noticed this. Here it is."

    Is that wrong? I don't think so.