Recently the USC has received scrutiny for a mistake made during the student programs officer (SPO) election. Preferential ballots are counted in numerous ways. The most common method of counting the ranked ballot is the instant runoff. This system is used in the SPO election but cannot be used in situations where multiple seats are being elected.
The elections committee attempted to modify a multiple-seat counting method to accommodate the single-seat SPO election. This was a mistake made out of miscommunication. I failed to recognize that there was a different counting method used in multi-seat elections, and that the committee only had experience with this type. Because of that, I did not provide appropriate training to the Elections Governance Committee on the system to use instead.
Within one day an appropriate solution had been carried out, involving all candidates. This was due to the quick thinking and problem solving of our incredibly capable deputy returning officer (DRO). I have the utmost faith in her abilities, as does everyone else who has worked with her. She does not deserve harsh opinion articles ridiculing her character and capabilities, it is bullying, and is unacceptable.
What started out as articles relating to the incident have turned into something that I cannot and will not stand for. Articles demeaning and humiliating student volunteers are unacceptable. The USC is a place where students are free to learn and grow, mistakes are a huge part of that. We foster both a professional environment and one where students can feel comfortable enough to try and fail. Occasionally, mistakes are bound to happen, but what is important is how we respond to those mistakes.
We made a big mistake. But it was realized and handled effectively. Much like the volunteers at the Gazette, the USC is run by students trying to learn and trying to get by. The Gazette has an obligation to freely report on our mistakes, but I urge the Gazette leadership to think twice before using their position and platform to harshly criticize students who are trying to learn.
- Isaac Jacobi, University Students' Council Secretary-Treasurer
The Gazette strongly disagrees with the characterization of bullying as stated in this letter. The Gazette abhors bullying and is fully compliant with any and all USC and Western policies on harassment and bullying. Our publication of this note, as is, does not constitute a tacit approval of this characterization, and we will address this statement through the appropriate channels.