COC ’17 write-in candidate secures presidency after re-do election

Jonah Roth, Staff Reporter

Two weeks ago, the Class Officer Collective’s only contested election—Class President of 2017—ended in uncertainty. Write-in candidate Gabriel Murcia had received the most votes, but election policy violations meant that he technically hadn’t won. Last week, the COC Election Commission held a second election with letters of intent resubmitted, with Murcia taking the majority vote again, securing him the COC presidency of the class of 2017.

Although Murcia campaigned like any other COC candidate, he started his campaign after the deadline for letters of intent had passed. “It just came down to a lack of knowledge,” Murcia said. “We did not know that the campaign was happening; there was very little publicity of the election.”

Soon after the initial election, Murcia was informed that he had not technically won due to campaign violations: His campaign manager Ari Lewis made a campaign post (a public announcement) on Facebook while polls were open.

Although Murcia said that he denies the campaign violations that caused the second election, since “public announcement” is not well-defined, and that COC bylaws state that he must be informed of violations within 24 hours, the bylaws available on COC’s website only state that “all violations…must be reported within 24 hours after the announcement of election results.” They say nothing about the timeframe during which COC must inform candidates of these violations.

He and his campaign staff had planned to appeal the decision but withdrew the appeal later that day, upset that the appeal was to the same group they were disagreeing with. “It wasn’t an objective body. So it just seemed like, logically, that doesn’t sound like it’s going to work out.” He had confidence in the support of his classmates, who ultimately voted him to victory a second time.

Another unusual feature of Murcia’s campaign was the fact that he appointed an entire campaign staff. “My goal was to decentralize,” he said. “A lot of times what you see with campaigns is ‘me me me,’ really emphasizing the individuality of the candidate, and my goal was, instead of saying ‘I’ or ‘me,’ to use words like ‘we’ or ‘us.’ I think that reflects better on what we’re trying to do.”

Murcia looks forward to helping keep the class of 2017 united next year. “An issue for me next year is the fact that we have most of the sophomores living on the southside residential village, and we have an entire building of sophomores living on the completely other side of campus in Clarke. I just want to schedule as many events and provide enough platforms for interaction to continue between our two groups of sophomores so we don’t lose that sense of connection.”