Updated, 9/30, 12:20 a.m.
Amid questions over the decision to fill a vacant Columbia College seat in the University Senate by indirect election, Columbia College Student Council announced Sunday that it would hold a direct election instead.
The reversal was announced in a press release from the CCSC executive board late Sunday night.
Previously, University Senators Matthew Chou, CC ’14, and Jared Odessky, CC ’15, and CCSC President Daphne Chen, CC ’14, had decided to hold an indirect election to fill the vacant seat, which had belonged to Cleo Abram, CC ’15.
But CCSC's class of 2014 council questioned that decision in an email published by Bwog on Thursday. They speculated that Chen and the senators might have delayed announcing the vacant seat until polls had closed in the class of 2017 council election, in order to avoid a direct election.
The CCSC constitution states that senate seats vacated before fall student body elections can be filled via direct election or indirect election. Seats vacated after fall elections must be filled by indirect election.
An indirect election would have seen CCSC appoint the senator from among three candidates chosen by a panel of four—Chou, Odessky, Chen, and another member of CCSC's executive board—after an open application process.
“Although the Executive Board does not believe the indirect election process was ever compromised, we realize that recent media attention surrounding this election has brought intense negativity and accusations of illegitimacy to the race,” the board said in its statement.
Registration for the race is open here. The board said it would release a detailed breakdown of the campaign schedule in the next few days.
The board defended its initial decision in the statement.
“Some have alleged the Senate’s delay in announcing this vacancy constituted an attempt to control the timing of the election to force it to be indirect,” the statement read. “In fact, CCSC and the Senate could not announce the vacancy until the Senator formally decided to vacate her seat. Upon receiving confirmation of the vacancy on Tuesday, September 24, CCSC and the Senate immediately informed the student body on Wednesday, September 25.”