By Olivia Krauth–
Last week, in the middle of the first round of Student Government Association voting, SGA Presidential candidate Georgie Sook sued against fellow presidential candidate Vishnu Tirumala in SGA court. The Cardinal, to my surprise, laid at the heart of the battle.
The suit focused on the Cardinal’s endorsement of Tirumala. Sook argued the endorsement was campaign material for Tirumala, and should be forced to follow the SGA election rules regarding campaign material – no distribution within residence halls and Ekstrom Library, among others. She also asked for a two percent vote reduction from Tirumala – a common election-related sanction in SGA court.
While the case was dismissed by the SGA Supreme Court, Sook’s stance against the Cardinal’s tradition of endorsing a candidate for SGA President – a tradition honored by SGA courts and candidates since the court’s inception – comes off as a stance simply against the Cardinal. In today’s fake news, anti-media political climate, I can’t sit idly by in this situation – even if Tirumala was directly sued instead of us.
Sook’s campaign slogan is “Protect This Nest.” Inside this “nest” are the thousands of students who vote in SGA elections – the students every candidate, Sook included, said they were going to advocate and listen to. Student journalists are still students.
While Sook couldn’t sue the Cardinal because of its independent status, she asked for the Cardinal to interrupt its routine by restricting what we can write and where we can place papers. In the pre-trial hearing, Sook and her legal counsel mentioned multiple times this was not directed at the Cardinal and they both respected the organization. However, the sanctions she requested do not express the same mentality. Not only did Sook try to silence student voices, she tried to cut students off from information.
All SGA candidates received equal treatment during the endorsement interviews with the Cardinal. Tirumala and Sook were asked the same questions during their interviews. While Sook may be a sophomore, she understood the way endorsements work with the publication. Still, when not endorsed, she called the newspaper “campaign material” for Tirumala.
Anyone who has been paying attention to the Cardinal’s coverage of the election will see that there has been unbiased, equal coverage of the candidates, including surveys on platforms and debate coverage.
I doubt this would be an issue if Sook had been endorsed. Not getting your way, lashing out at your running mates and the media are the actions of a thin-skinned politician. What do Sook’s actions during this election say about what her possible presidency will be like?