The Class Officer Collective’s recent elections have received a great deal of attention from the Case Western Reserve University community following allegations that the electronic ballots may have been tampered with.
On Monday, Sept. 11, Connor Zhu, a candidate for president of the class of 2021, posted on various CWRU Facebook pages that he had been approached by a fellow student promising to ensure him a win in the election in exchange for $3,000. The post was made on the official Class of 2021 page as well as the popular CWRU memes page, “Case Memes for Academically Challenged Beans”, where it was later removed by admins.
Included in the post was a screenshot of an email Zhu had sent to President Barbara Snyder, as well as to the COC Executive President, Steve Ruan, and the Election Commissioner and Executive Marketing and Public Relations Officer for COC, Priya Khullar. The email detailed Zhu’s basis for the allegations and claimed to include messages from the alleged student in the attachments, although those were not shown in the screenshot. Zhu also called for an election using paper ballots.
“As [a] Freshman Class [Presidential] candidate, I don’t believe the election results matter to me that much right now. I just want to foster a clean and fair election system at Case Western Reserve University,” said Zhu.
Khullar could not comment on the results of the ongoing investigation, but assures the CWRU community that “The claims made about this election cycle are very serious. Our school’s staff have been looking into the investigation in every possible way.”
The Class Officer Collective, Student Activities and Leadership Office, Office of Student Affairs, Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and the Student Affairs IT Department are all involved in the investigation, according to Khullar.
The website where students submitted their votes during the election, on Sept. 8 and 9, is controlled by the IT department and Student Affairs.
Khullar assured that the COC will be open to answering questions regarding the findings of the investigation and the election once the investigation has been closed. For now, the election results have not been released or made official.
“Unless the investigation disproves the election results, the election results will stand,” Khullar said.
The COC had their officer retreat on the evening of Sept. 13, where they discussed future event planning and ways of promoting school spirit, as well as class bonding. According to Khullar, the controversy over the election was not discussed in detail.