USS message board receives nasty posts

Jessica Rothschuh

As the election nears, posts on the Undergraduate Student Senate Web site message board are getting ugly, and some candidates are speaking up.

“I am so sick of people telling me that the only reason I am going to be elected is because I am unopposed or because I am Greek,” academic affairs candidate Karli Chaboudy wrote on the message board. “In case you didn’t know, I know I could get elected even if I had an opponent and wasn’t Greek.

“I am very qualified to do my job as a senator, and I will sit down and talk to anyone who disagrees.”

Some anonymous posts endorsed particular candidates, while others attacked candidates’ platforms, the Daily Kent Stater and its editorial board and the entire election in general.

Andrew Meeks, who is running for senator for research and student development, said the candidates are trying to have a “nice, clean, fair election,” and the negative posts on the site are undermining this goal.

“This message board, of recent, has been a personal attack zone for different candidates,” Meeks wrote on the message board. “We have taken it from its true purpose, which is to educate the uneducated about a candidate’s views, and turned it into a mudslinging, mean-spirited, esteem-cutting entity.”

Meeks said he wrote that post because “It was getting too ugly. It was getting too personal.”

Some of the messages on the site were vicious, but some were lighthearted.

“Vote for Pedro,” said someone using the alias “Pedro Sanchez.” “Bill Ross can’t grow a mustache.”

“Pedro” is a fictional character played by actor Efren Ramirez in the 2004 comedy Napoleon Dynamite. He is apparently a write-in candidate for the executive director position alongside two other fictional students, Eddie Weinertuck and Steve Mangina.

“We haven’t censored anything this year,” graphic designer Matt Stevens said. He maintains the USS Web site and also is a designer for the Stater.

The message board has been up since October 2002, and Stevens said it usually doesn’t get many posts.

“For some reason, this election seems to be a big one,” Stevens said because there have been more posts around election time this year than in the past.

The USS message board had to be removed during Spring 2003 because a senator criticized the executive director, Stevens said.

As of yesterday, the 2005 USS candidates’ platform pages had been viewed 2,663 times. This does not necessarily indicate the number of students using the site, however, because students may view more than one candidate’s page.

Though the percentage of the student population viewing the message board is small, some candidates are still bothered by the negative comments.

“It was getting pretty ugly,” Chaboudy said. “I really think that people need to form their own opinions, as opposed to just reading the bashing that’s going on there.”

Contact student politics reporter Jessica Rothschuh at [email protected].