An honest letter of experience from Wyatt Anians (‘19)

This letter is an open and honest response from last week’s opinion piece titled, “An open letter of experience from Asha Aden and Sam Kottke to the student body.”

As the election chair committee for this spring semester, I had many duties, both written and unwritten. I would like to expand upon the unwritten duties and include mistakes that I had made in the recent election process for the incoming Student Senate President and Vice President.

The application in question had been submitted prior to the deadline, which was 4:00 p.m. on April 9. Accepting a completed application after this would go against the written bylaws of the election committee. However, it is written that “Completed applications and support sheets for all Senate positions” are due at this same deadline. As documented in the committee’s letter of rejection, we cited the following errors in the application: a missing President application, an unsigned and undated Vice President application, and a signature sheet including typed names instead of actual signatures. This paints an honest picture of the array of errors that appeared on the application.

As a friend, I felt it was my duty to assist and retrieve a finished application from the potential applicants. However, this extended the duties I had as a committee chair. I was acting in favor of a particular candidate, while the position demands impartiality. Once admitting my mistakes, the committee voted unanimously to reject the application. After this, I admit to extending my duties even more by allowing the parties to appeal the committee’s decision to all of Student Senate, allowing them a voice in the committee’s inner workings. The Student Senate voted with a 15-7 vote to retain the rejection of the application.

This ordeal is not one of #whereisthedemocracy or questioning leadership skills or even one of racial bias. It is one about organization and timeliness. An application, of any kind, is not intended to be a litmus test of ability to thoroughly fill out simple paperwork. However, for certain individuals, this is the case for analyzing basic carefulness — or carelessness — In the professional world, an unsigned application would undoubtedly yield rejection. In a legal setting, typed names do not suffice as a signature. For any application, lack of a signature disqualifies it. Even offering an appeal is wildly uncommon when applying for any position. For these simple and clear analogies, the potential candidates could not yield an acceptance on their application.

One difficult skill of a leader is the ability to admit one’s mistakes. I am publicly admitting that I should never have fed false hope to my friends, who I know would have made great leaders. I admit to a bias that allowed these candidates the opportunity to appeal to the Student Senate, something that nobody has knowingly been allowed before. As I stand with a changed mind on the issue, I can also admit my mistakes in this process, concede to them and learn from them. Can you, Asha and Sam?


Wyatt Anians (‘19)

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chips or organizations whith which the author(s) are associated.

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