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Letter to the editor: The Cameron conundrum

March 27, 2019

As many of you are aware, I served as the student body president for the 2017-2018 school year, the year immediately following Cameron Forsythe’s student body vice presidency.

 

Cameron was on one of the two tickets that ran against Drew Williams and myself for the 2017-2018 term as well.

 

Because of both of these experiences, I feel that it is my responsibility to discuss his conduct both during his tenure as vice president and afterward.

 

To begin, the election for the 2016-2017 term was the first real experience I had with Cameron. I was the campaign manager for the competing presidential ticket. The election cycle that year was less than friendly, to say the least.

 

Everyone was trying to be a whistleblower on their rival ticket’s team, and a lot of conduct complaint forms were filed with that year’s UTSG Election Board. Out of all of those submitted forms, I only remember one complaint being found to have sufficient evidence to punish a ticket.

 

That complaint was against Cameron’s ticket for purchasing votes. His campaign team was found guilty of purchasing several pizzas during election week and only providing a piece to a person if they showed them proof that they had voted for them, or if they voted for their ticket while they watched.

 

Unfortunately, due to the punishments for violating the UTSG Election Manual that year being incredibly lenient, they got off with only a slap on the wrist.

 

The kicker to all of this is that yes, they won the election, but they won by less than 100 votes. Therefore, the argument can be made that their dishonest behavior altered the outcome of the election.

 

Moving into his actual tenure as SBVP, Cameron became relatively infamous within UTSG for pilfering other people’s projects without their consent. He would take full credit for them if they were successful but offshored the blame to the creator of the idea when they failed.

 

His name became synonymous with dishonesty and selfishness within UTSG. During the 2017-2018 campaign, he ran on the platform of listening to students (sound familiar?) and on his presidential roundtable idea that was a bastardization of the Ambassador Program—a project that I had spent the entire year working on in my role as the external affairs committee c

hairman.

 

After we were elected, Drew and I had to spend much of our time rebuilding bridges burned from consistent absences from meetings with UT administrators due to Cameron’s previous tenure in office. In the early days of our term, administrators would regularly tell Drew and I that they were surprised to see us because of the previous tickets consistent absence from meetings essential to performing the responsibilities of the office.

 

That was incredibly problematic because a student government is supposed to serve as the primary route to contacting administrators about critical student issues.

 

UTSG’s legislation has little to no effect on influencing change on campus if the administration does not respect the establishment, or if it never reaches the necessary administrators.

 

To get to my point, in my opinion, a vote for Cameron is a mistake that will hurt the student experience at UT and dismantle one of the few avenues students have to reach administrators once again.

 

Although I am not publicly endorsing any candidates in this election, I encourage you all to vote and make your voice heard.

 

I encourage everyone to vote but to just consider one of the alternative tickets.

 

Jimmy Russell is a fourth-year political science major and the University of Toledo's former student body president.

 

 

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