When Team DiBrina set out to plan and prepare for this election, our goals included promising plausible platform points, engaging as many students as possible, and running a clean campaign, ideally with zero demerit points. As campaign manager, regardless of the outcome, I am proud of us for the campaign we ran, and for achieving our goals.
I would not have campaigned as hard as I did if I did not vehemently believe that David DiBrina and Harry Orbach-Miller were the best people for the jobs. The disappointment I felt when Team Tobi won was expected. However, that is democracy.
Students get to choose who they feel will best represent them, or they choose to abstain from voting. I do not believe there was a single unqualified candidate running. Although people’s opinions on who was the “most qualified” will differ, the students clearly made their choice.
The appeals are a hotly contested topic at the moment. I do believe that there are fair arguments on either side.
I fundamentally do not believe with a 996 vote difference, that the violations committed by Team Tobi are the sole reason they won. Team Tobi must be commended for successfully energizing and involving a voter base that previously did not care for USC elections. I worry that many students view the rules as "half-baked, dumb and absurd."
If these appeals succeed, pushing Team Tobi over the 30 demerit point threshold, I worry that this will do nothing but disenfranchise even more people from the USC. Students who did not vote, and first-time voters who voted for Team Tobi, will to continue to think their vote doesn't matter, that “insiders protect their own.” This is the exact belief I wanted to change, and I will be disheartened if this truly is the outcome.
But I also am concerned that these violations were committed due to negligence or disregard for the rules, which were clearly outlined at the all candidates' meeting. At the end of the day, the Elections Governance Committee did not disqualify Team Tobi. I can only hope that they learn from this experience and are diligent in adhering to the rules and regulations, and are dedicated to being better, if/when president and vice-president.
I do not agree that filing these appeals was in the best interest of the USC and the students-at-large, and that is why I have resigned from my position and am no longer involved. Regardless of the outcomes of these appeals, I fear that the act of appealing has already created a division in the student body, when the process of unification should be occurring.
Regardless of who ends up occupying the positions of the president and vice-president, they will now have to prove themselves worthy of the positions. They will have to legitimize their win to some group of students, which will set them back in their goal to represent ALL students, before they even begin. This is a loss, for all students.
I implore everyone to continue to be involved, and hold whomever steps into office accountable to their campaign promises for a better USC. If you don’t like the system, push them to change it. Speak out. Make your voice heard. Both Team Tobi and Team DiBrina pledged they would listen to and consult students. No matter who wins, hold them to that promise.
Disclaimer: These opinions are mine, and mine only, and are in no way representative of the opinions of Team DiBrina.
Former Campaign Manager for Team DiBrina