PRIDE! to redo spring elections

Lydia Coutré

PRIDE! Kent will redo executive board elections and welcome new members to the group at 8 p.m. on Thursday in the Student Center Governance Chamber.

PRIDE! will recast their ballots after deeming their elections from the spring invalid.

“Here’s the issue: We didn’t follow what the constitution says about running the election,” said Karla Anhalt, associate professor and faculty advisor for PRIDE!

Because this is a repeat election, only members from last semester may vote.

“Everyone is encouraged to come to the meeting, but the people who will be voting will be the Spring 2010 members,” Anhalt said.

The constitution dictates that the current executive board selects the following year’s board.

The executive board should have selected one person for each position for members of PRIDE! to accept with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote on each individual.

Anhalt said during the spring elections, the executive board presented the membership with multiple candidates for each position, therefore giving them a choice between individuals, instead of asking them to accept one nominee.

To rectify this, the group is backtracking and presenting PRIDE! members with one option for each position: Trae Ruscin for president, Amanda Fincham for vice president, Martonyo Caddiell for programming director and Cristina Mazzone for allies chair.

These are the original nominees that should have been on the ballot in the spring.

Each nominee must receive a two-thirds “yes” vote to win. Spring 2010 members will vote on confidential ballots. If a nominee does not receive enough “yes” votes, Anhalt said she will have to consult the Center for Student Involvement about the next steps.

CSI and Anhalt co-facilitated an Aug. 13 meeting for last year’s executive board and the nominees to resolve the issues from May’s election.

“We all agreed that we were going to have another election the first meeting and we were going to follow the constitution word for word, so there will not be any question,” said Ruscin, a senior general studies major and presidential nominee.

In order to prevent these issues in the future, the group will work throughout the semester to revise the constitution, changing the election process and any other sections PRIDE! and CSI feel need to be changed.

“I think once CSI reviewed it, there were some gaps that they suggested should be addressed,” Anhalt said. “Just because they work with so many student organizations … they thought there would be some other sections that could be revised.”

Without attendance records for meetings, students who were not regular members came to vote in May, Anhalt said. This is another gap they hope to fix.

Mazzone, a junior public relations and international relations major and allies chair nominee, agrees a revision is needed.

“I definitely think it needs to be adapted and changed to where it’s more effective,” said Mazzone.

Anhalt said she wants the revision to be “a little more grassroots,” by including general members and board members in the writing process. She hopes to finalize the constitution this semester, “so that it can inform our elections in Spring 2011,” she said.

Fincham, a senior English major and vice presidential nominee, said she hopes to make it “less open-ended” and leave nothing up for debate.

“In changing the constitution I’m really looking forward to that clarity,” Fincham said.

PRIDE!, which stands for People Respecting Individual Diversity Everywhere, aims to achieve equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, according to the PRIDE! website.

Ahnalt said she and CSI Associate Director Brenda McKenzie would be at the meeting “to make sure that elections do run smoothly.”

She said they don’t want elections to be the focus of the meeting.

“We’re hoping it will just take about 10 minutes,” Anhalt said. “And we realize that there will be a lot of very new people coming to PRIDE!, and we’d really like to make this meeting about them, to welcome them, as opposed to dealing with political issues.”

Contact Lydia Coutré at [email protected] for more information.