Elections are never pretty events. Dirty laundry gets brought to light, good names are dragged through the mud, and people tend to manipulate and coerce in ways that they wouldn’t consider otherwise. And COCC being the little version of the real world that it is, has found the campaign filled with the same sort of tactics any general election would be filled with. The only problem is that the usual suspects are once again unable to play by big boy rules, and instead use manipulation, propaganda and coercion to maintain the status quo in student government.
Sometime on May 7, a Facebook profile was created under the alias “Amy Vandervelt.” This user page has as its profile picture, an image stating “Vote no for Brenda Pierce,” as well as an accompanying causes page listing several reasons why change is needed on student government and why to vote no for Brenda.
Considering Pierce has funded her own facebook ad and her posters blanket every inch of this campus, it seems reasonable to have an anti-Brenda Pierce page. However, Pierce has instead decided to accuse this person of hate speech and cyber-bullying and has claimed that the author of the page is in violation of the student code. She has also talked about her intention to “print out a list of all these students names and make a flier about them inciting hate speech and cyber bullying on campus.”
Guess what Brenda, whoever “Amy Vandervelt” and her friends may be, they are in no way violating the student code and furthermore, they are protected by the first amendment of the US constitution as well as section 8 of the Oregon constitution. Pierce may not like what is written there, but students have a right to differing points of view, and they have a right to share those views with the world.
This happens in the real world, in real campaigns. For every pro candidate page on facebook, there are plenty more that take a stand against the candidate. For every editorial supporting a candidate, there is another letter to the editor stating why that candidate is a bad choice. This is the way politics in the real world happens, people have differing points of view and they debate them. And candidates don’t hide behind hyperbole and accuse students of crimes they haven’t committed.
In an email, Dustun Fort stated that he has been “accused of helping start the webpage and also tearing down flyers ,” and “it’s tough running for election because Brenda and the gang do not want a change.” It seems that when Brenda and her cronies don’t get the result they want, which is yet another manipulated mandate for their troika, they descend into intimidating candidates and making false accusations.
Candidates with as much experience as Pierce should expect an intense campaign and should play by the rules. Also, maybe growing up a little and looking at how things are done in the real world would prevent the sort of silly exchanges that have been happening on facebook and in the halls.