To the Editor,
The Daily article from April 23 entitled “External influences impact TCU election” raises the question: who exactly is “external” to the process of electing the TCU President? The influences discussed in the article are Generic Candidate, the creation of Tufts junior Ben Kurland, and posters made by Tufts senior Evan Moulson. TCU Parliamentarian Brian Tesser was quoted as saying, in reference to Generic Candidate, “I think that it could have kind of swayed votes in a way that they shouldn’t have been swayed. It was coming from something that, in my opinion, wasn’t credible because no one was tying themselves to it.” In the same article, N???±ez’s campaign manager Hannah Deegan referred to Generic Candidate as an “outside force [which] came in and sort of changed” the positive campaigns both candidates were running.
Everyone must come to his or her own conclusion as to how much credibility to afford anonymous speech, which begs the question: May Generic Candidate’s critique be judged on its merits now that Kurland has taken ownership of it? But how should votes be swayed? Implicit in Tesser and Deegan’s words, and in the article’s headline, is the idea that legitimate discussion of the election must simply weigh the candidates against one another, never questioning the fundamental premises of their campaigns.
The fact that people involved with TCU Senate, presidential campaigns and the Daily take this attitude only underscores the validity of Moulson’s claim, in his op-ed of April 23, that “the nominating process is designed to stifle dissent and unpopular views.” Moulson and Kurland are current Tufts students; their views should be no more “external” to the campaign process than, for instance, those of a Senator or campaign manager.
Moulson’s other major point in his op-ed, that “TCU Senate is, for all its bluster, very limited in its power,” also ran through many of Generic Candidate’s strongest pieces of satire. Here I disagree slightly with Moulson’s proposed solution. Rather than investing TCU Senate with the powers held by the Committee on Student Life, I’m inclined to think we should ignore presidential candidates’ promises to take actions that far exceed the scope of their office and instead focus more on elections for the CSL itself. In any case, Moulson’s and Kurland’s criticisms of electoral campaigns at Tufts ought not to be dismissed simply because they are “external” to the messages of sanctioned candidates for office.
Class of 2016