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This article about the SCSU student referendum on whether to use student fees to fund the Athletic Department brings tons of questions to mind. First, this part bothers me:

Downing said in an interview that rules were violated at the election table. She said she witnessed numerous times in which student-athletes were encouraging voters to vote yes on the first question and no on the second. Downing said she recommended the vote be invalidated and that another referendum be conducted in the spring.

“If a student were to have been running or a senator had come to a table, they would have been removed from the ballot instantly,” Downing said.

The issue is not clear cut, said Adam Hammer, a spokesman for the university. No one documented the alleged violations and it is unclear whether the students who might have been campaigning too close to the voting booth were athletes, Hammer said.

The rules are also not clear because the vote was conducted by computer and cell phones, and it is difficult to determine what constitutes a polling place. The student government set a table with a computer in the student union where students could vote.

“There is no absolute validity to these claims and that is part of the problem,” Hammer said.

The first question I have about Hammer’s statement is this: why is he making statements about a vote administered by the student government? There’s no question that the administration has a lot riding on the vote but that doesn’t mean they’re making informed statements. Last week, Hammer made a different statement:

To maintain the integrity of the review, causes for the review will not be released. “This is a learning community,” said Adam Hammer, director media relations and publications. “Student organizations help our students learn how to be part of a representative democracy.”

If “student organizations” are helping the students conduct the election and if the review process was conducted by the Student Government’s Election Committee, why did the administration feel the need to have Mr. Hammer make these statements? Here’s what was posted over the weekend:

The reality is that this administration wanted this outcome…badly. With enrollments declining…Who am I kidding? They’re falling off a steep cliff. Let’s start over. With FYE enrollment falling off a cliff and tuition revenues sharply dropping and especially after signing the ill-advised contract with the Wedum Foundation that’s costing SCSU an average of $1,000,000 a year, SCSU isn’t far removed from retrenchment and significant budget cuts, cuts that will dwarf this year’s announced cuts of $2,861,000.

President Potter’s administration couldn’t sit on the sidelines with this much riding on the vote. Perhaps next time, they’ll fix the enrollment problem and eliminate the foolish spending so they can afford to support the basics.

Unfortunately, that isn’t likely to happen.

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