A day in the life of student politics: Peter Scelfo (pictured right) handily won a seat as a freshman representative on Cornell’s Student Assembly this week, scoring 146 more votes than his nearest competitor. His performance is largely attributed to a strong campaign platform, namely: “Vote for me. I’m dressed like a Christmas Elf.”
Scelfo’s victory is also a win for any Cornell student desperately searching for some reason — any reason — to actually care about the S.A.; though a bitter defeat for those who would ask that student governance be taken seriously, for fuck’s sake. (That is, other members of the S.A.)
An editorial from today’s Cornell Sun.:
Scelfo’s campaign — and victory — continued a recent trend in campus elections away from the issues and toward theatrics. Flashy campaign videos, Facebook groups and, now, even costumes have become the featured aspects in successful student campaigns. Name recognition matters above all else. While this has generated more interest in student elections, it has also reduced their legitimacy.
Note: This post originally stated that the aforementioned Cornell Sun editorial was a letter to the editor from freshman Ross Gitlin, who finished second to Scelfo in the election, and also earned a seat on the S.A. What looked very much like Gitlin’s sign off was actually just a disclosure, by way of the Sun’s staff, that his brother is Ben Gitlin, the paper’s editor-in-chief. A third brother, Adam Gitlin, is the S.A.’s executive vice president. The Gitlins, it turns out, are Cornell’s answer to the Emanuels.