Senate seeks new president for next school year after intimidation controversy

The Senate Board of Directors held an additional meeting after the regularly scheduled Student Senate meeting April 23 to hear Haley Gluhanich ’19 and her appeal of Vice President Aimee Bosman’s  decision stating she had violated an election rule forbidding the intimidation of candidates during her run for Senate President of the 2018-2019 school year.

Ms. Bosman first emphasized that if the Board of Directors approved Haley’s appeal she would become Senate President next year, but if her appeal was rejected, the Presidential Election would be re-held and she would be barred from participating. Ms. Bosman then summarized her own report of the situation. A student emailed her late at night on April 9 over their concerns that Ms. Gluhanich had made her feel intimidated during the Senate Elections by handing them her phone to use for voting, and standing nearby while the student did so. Senator Michael Mancuso ‘20, the chair of the Opinions Committee, inquired if the amount of votes cast for Haley during the time period which she was canvassing the First-year dorms where the incident occurred would have been enough to sway the election; it would not have been.

Ms. Gluhanich then had the opportunity to tell her side of the story. She began with a defense of handing people her phone to vote on—pointing out that the Senators’ main voting tables in the library have an expectation of allowing students to vote on their phones. She also noted that knocking on doors is not forbidden in the constitution, and that door-to-door canvassing is expected when candidates are collecting signatures to get on the ballot. She corrected a part of Ms. Bosman’s report, saying that she never canvassed in East Quad. She also read a list of statements supporting her claim that all of her interactions had been totally innocuous, sent to her without request by people she already knew.

Ms. Gluhanich also claimed that a member of Executive Board encouraged her to campaign harder, encouragement which Ms. Burns, her rival candidate, never got. Parliamentarian Patrick McKenna ‘18 admitted he had encouraged Ms. Gluhanich because of their personal friendship, and clarified for Ms. Burns that it had not been a matter of the Executive Board, but him personally. President Frigon stated that “we can’t control people’s social lives,” and Mr. McKenna said that he had no regrets and stood behind what he said to Ms. Gluhanich, supporting her in her run for the presidency.

The questions for Ms. Gluhanich focused a great deal on determining the actual way she had interacted with people while canvassing. The pattern that emerged was that Ms. Gluhanich would knock on a door, randomly either introducing herself or directly asking if the student who answered the door had voted in the election yet. If not, she would offer them her phone, suggesting that they vote on her device since she already had the google form pulled up.

When asked if she had ever told people to just go on their emails, she said that she had told students they could do so, but most of the time took her phone as it was more easily accessible. This was one of the reasons she believed her actions were not intimidating. She would then take a step back, allowing the student to vote, before taking her phone back after they finished and moving on. The point was raised, however, that intimidation is subjective, and Ms. Gluhanich was in these students’ living space. 

Senator Michael Mancuso ‘20 also asked Ms. Bosman why the student who filed the original complaint was not at the meeting to provide their side of the story. Ms. Bosman responded that the student wished to remain anonymous.

President Frigon noted several times throughout the questioning that the Senate investigation and The Gettysburgian investigation were separate, and the bodies had not worked together in any form.

After the questioning, all non-voting members of the Board of Directors were removed from the room for deliberation and secret ballot voting. After around 30 minutes, Ms. Gluhanich was called back in to hear the decision of the Board, after which the rest of the observers were called back to learn that Ms. Gluhanich had lost the appeal with 9 votes no, 3 votes yes, and 2 abstentions, totaling 14 votes from the Board of Directors.

New Presidential candidates will have until 8am Thursday, April 26 to collect all signatures needed to get on the ballot. Voting will open at noon the same day and not close until noon on Monday, May 30th; the new President will be announced and inducted with the rest of the Executive Board at that night’s Senate Meeting, the last of the semester.

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