If elections were scheduled and not held twice in a row, what would you do? Well, the answer is that you would do nothing. How do I know? This is precisely what has happened to the Class of 2021’s student council elections.
Among the most important things for every Andover student to learn are civic responsibility and voting, but the wrong lessons are being modeled to the student body. We are ten weeks into the school year and the Junior class still has no representative in student council. It’s not because students failed to vote; it’s because elections were simply not held.
The Junior class had our first election scheduled for October 5, but it did not take place. A week later, the administration sent out an email providing an explanation. The postponement is completely understandable due to the circumstances, but this same email announced that the election was rescheduled to Friday, October 20, and once again, it did not happen. In fact, the student body did not receive any notification of this cancellation until Monday, October 23. Furthermore, the updated schedule sent out on October 12th said the student finalists were set to speak on the 23rd, but there was no school that day. Students were not even required to be on campus. Clearly this was a scheduling error, but without transparency, students could not know for sure.
It is unfair to both the Junior class, who have received little information on voting or the election process itself, and the students running for class representative, myself included, who dutifully submitted platforms and signatures on time weeks ago. The faculty in charge of Andover’s elections need to be more transparent and responsible. There is a clear and simple solution to this problem: hold the elections.
Additionally, those running for representative must hold the faculty accountable. The job of a student representative is to stand up for students, and if our candidates fail to do so in this situation, they will not stand up for the student body in the future. It is our responsibility to amplify the concerns and complaints of our peers.
If we cannot even hold a class election, how are we supposed to learn how to exercise our democratic rights beyond Andover? Our country is in turmoil, due in part because many citizens shirk their civic duty and fail to show up at the polls. According to PBS, more than 40 percent of eligible voters in the 2016 election did not vote. Those in charge of elections have a duty to teach students how to be civil minded members of communities, and they are failing to do so.
In the future, this situation can be easily prevented by finding a date and sticking to it. If the set date needs to be changed because of circumstances beyond control, faculty members should contact students immediately to alert them of the cancellation. Dates are only effective if we view them as concrete. Students and representatives in the classes of 2020, 2019, and 2018 need to stand up for the Junior class. Our class is off to a rocky start—and after all, the end depends on the beginning.