DeRay Mckesson '07 is a College institution? That's the judgment of the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) Elections Committee, which disqualified DeRay Mckesson's candidacy for the Class of 2007 presidency last week. Mckesson, who is already the president of BSG, planned on running again, but withdrew this week under pressure from the committee.
At issue, the Elections Committee says, is a conflict of interest between Mckesson's candidacy and his role as student government president.
The committee did a poor job communicating its justification to the student body. In a letter sent to students' mailboxes this week, the committee did not point to specific rules that Mckesson broke. However, upon questioning by the Orient and by a BSG member at BSG's meeting on Tuesday, election officials referenced rules about college organizations and college resources.
The committee members must have long arms, because this interpretation is a stretch.
Typically, the leader of a democratically-elected body is not considered to represent the entire body in internal politics. And Mckesson is certainly not a "resource" of Bowdoin College in any sense of the word?he is neither on the College's payroll for his BSG work, nor is he a possession of the College.
We believe that the Elections Committee did what it thought was best for Bowdoin students and the student government. However, the committee overreached in this case.
We would support the committee's decision if the BSG Constitution or election rules clearly stated that a BSG officer cannot also be a class officer. In the coming months, committee members may want to propose legislation for future elections. But the fact remains that no rules clearly preclude Mckesson's candidacy.
And for that reason, we cannot support the Elections Committee's decision to interfere with a democratic vote.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board. The editorial board consists of the editors-in-chief and the managing editor.