As The Observer recently reported, there has been some controversy with the most recent Class Officer Collective (COC) elections. First-year student Connor Zhu sent an email to President Barbara Snyder and two higher representatives of the COC claiming that the election could have been hacked. He introduced a lot of information, including text transcripts and a recorded phone conversation, but most notably brought up that the job would’ve been done in exchange for $3,000. The charges against the election have been riddled with hearsay and it has been difficult to substantiate information, but the severity of his allegations has led to an official investigation.
This scandal and its implications have spiraled out of control. There’s a lot of derision from my peers being directed at Connor, and most of them encouraged me to write about this ordeal just to continue it. But criticising Connor as a person would be unfair, destructive and in all honesty, pointless. There is a much more relevant and constructive takeaway from this entire situation.
When I chose to attend Case Western Reserve University, one of the deciding factors was the people. Everyone wanted so badly to be successful, and they were all highly determined and motivated to pursue their respective definition of this success.
However, with that that pursuit of success comes an array of distractions. We’ve all laid out these tracks for ourselves, but the end is pretty far off in the distance. Consequently, small failures, missed opportunities or other more general grievances can easily cause us to diverge from the optimal route to our goals.
This election mess is a prime example of this idea. Yes, there are certainly concerns to be had with the integrity of the process. However, the way in which these concerns were initially brought forward was unideal, as it created quite a bit of speculation and social distraction.
That being said, the response from the student body has generally not been productive either. We may disagree with how Connor reported his objections, but as I remarked before, directing our criticism at him personally is unfair and unkind. Our energy is better spent elsewhere. Antagonizing someone in a situation none of us truly understand causes us to both lose focus on our personal goals as students and fail to promote a positive atmosphere within this educational community.
It is crucial that we as individuals avoid having a negative effect upon one another, especially those of us that step up to be leaders.The primary issue with this entire controversy is that it involves a civil service position within the university. Frustration with how the election went is understandable, but creating a larger problem out of election results is not conducive to individual academic focus or community growth, two of the principles I would think are at the heart of a COC position.
There are issues affecting this school’s environment that require much more close attention and effort: community damage after the revocation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), organization for disaster relief and continuing support for first-year students as we get our collegiate feet wet are just a few examples of what, in my mind, should really matter to us moving forward.
We are all exceptionally intelligent and gifted kids, and as we advance as scholars and people over these next four years, we must remain focused on what will allow success for both ourselves and the greater CWRU community.