To the Editor:
I write in response to The Emory Wheel editorial board column entitled “Our Opinion: Cheating in RHA Pres. Election is Disappointing.” I would like to respond to this editorial as a member of the RHA Executive Board, as well as clear up what I can only describe as a gross misrepresentation of the RHA election procedure perpetuated in your editorials.
Very simply put, you have the timeline correct. There was an election, a run-off, a challenge, an appeal, another election, a challenge and an appeal. This process was a learning process for RHA – we have never been subjected to this many elections, challenges and appeals.
RHA is very concerned about allegations of cheating. It became quickly apparent that our elections code was outdated and did not embody the spirit or the standards we would expect such a code to maintain. The ambiguity you mentioned most certainly does exist, and there is nothing in the code with which to address said ambiguities. Many issues that have arisen throughout this process have been subject to the interpretation of those reading them, and as such, we have continued this long and arduous process. The code does not address any modern-day electronic methods of communication, which resulted in the basis of all of the challenges in this process save one.
Please be aware that we are scrutinizing and simplifying our elections code for future years. RHA is not a “red-tape” organization – we are built on cohesiveness. I like to refer to RHA as our own “little residential family.” That said, I am disappointed in how many of the members of our Executive Board not directly involved in the elections process have handled themselves, and would hope that in the future, personal feelings will not cloud objectivity in these situations.
You made two claims: a) you equalized RHA and SGA’s election procedure needs, and b) you suggested that the “RHA board should have immediately defaulted the presidency to Kadean Maddix.” I would like to address these claims. RHA and SGA, as I alluded to above, are not alike. RHA is a very open, inclusive, transparent organization which serves a specific community. SGA oversees the entire University, and has little to do with residence life. I do believe that policies for cheating need to be clearly addressed; however, decisions made by SGA and RHA are independent of each other and will remain as such in future years.
As far as the RHA board appointing someone as President, I believe that undermines the entire elections process. The board is mostly a group made up of appointees, and to suggest that their voice should be given more weight than the University population is sacrilege in the political world. Frankly, decisions made on cheating allegations should be made by independent third parties, not anyone associated with RHA. I do hope that in our future revisions of the code, we will follow the lead of similar organizations and create an independent elections board.
I hope that my letter today has addressed some of your concerns and clarified others. Whatever the outcome of the subsequent appeal, I have faith that RHA will recover from this election and continue on its path of growth in the College.
RHA Vice President for Advocacy
Class of 2016