The Columbia Elections Board’s president—its last remaining member—resigned last week, leaving Columbia’s three undergraduate councils to determine the future of the often-beleaguered organization.
The board has had problems with staffing and organization in the past. Beyond the backlash following its decision not to publicize fall 2017 elections, CEB has been the target of perennial criticism from council leaders, who have worried publicly for years about the board’s ability to publicize elections.
During their General Body meeting this Sunday, CCSC members commented on the burdens that fell on the CEB and discussed ways to make its job more desirable.
“It’s the worst position you could ever have,” Class of 2018 Representative Nicki Felmus, CC ’18, said.
Because of the public pressure that accompanies the position, some CCSC members proposed for the board to become an anonymous committee. But no member specified how such an anonymous board would be held accountable or solve the board’s ongoing transparency issues.
Acting council members have historically avoided publicizing and overseeing elections, citing possible conflicts of interest. Some representatives therefore suggested having seniors from governing boards or members of the administration handle the process. A compromise involving a two-tier system of students and administrators was also suggested.
Other proposals focused on the powers and responsibilities of the organization. One proposal called for the termination of vote deduction, the process by which the CEB can punish candidates who break election rules. This would, in theory, eliminate much of the pressure put on the CEB.
Councils will be left to decide how the elections will be run in the coming months—a process that will require the revisiting of council constitutions—even as many members run again for different positions.
“If we don’t make a decision at least to create a new process right now, there isn’t someone else who will,” CCSC President Nathan Rosin, CC ’18, said. “If we didn’t have this conversation and then didn’t create a new process, and then CEB didn’t exist in the spring, there just wouldn’t be elections.”