‘Lessons were learned’: CAS vote revises election rules, but president-elect to stay

Schoolwide vote passes amendments to student government election code and affirms results of student council presidential race.


Qianshan Weng

File photo: Prash Allam, vice president of the CAS Student Council, and Ron Hall, the student government president, taking questions from members of the student council. Adiba Chowdhury, the ousted candidate, is standing on the far left. (Qianshan Weng for WSN)

Ania Keenan and Bruna Horvath

Sam McCormack was confirmed as the next president of NYU’s College of Arts & Science Student Council after a majority of the school’s students voted in favor of proposed changes to its election code. The changes will be put into effect during the next election cycle.

CASSC announced the results of the vote in an email to CAS students on Tuesday. The amendments to the election code will allow the commission to conduct votes on the severity of election violations, and whether or not any violations should result in the disqualification of candidates. 

The CAS student body also voted that the changes should not apply to this year’s election, during which candidate Adiba Chowdhury was ousted for committing two election code violations. If the laws were to be applied retroactively, Chowdhury would have been the next president.

“It’s very reassuring to see the CAS students show their support for reform and progress to the election code in the spirit of making the student council more fair and more impartial,” McCormack said. “CAS students didn’t think this amendment should be applied retroactively because of the slippery slope that it creates for future councils, and it ultimately instills a bunch of unchecked power into the hands of an arbitrary elections commission.”

When the election commission decided not to count Chowdhury’s second infraction on April 8, current CASSC president Veronica Spinell filed an executive order overturning the commission’s decision. Although Chowdhury won the majority of votes, the decision made McCormack the de-facto winner.

“We recognize that these past few weeks have been ones where a lot of lessons were learned,” said Ron Hall, the student government chair. “Hopefully any of the mistakes that were made aren’t repeated.”

On April 24, Spinelli sent an email to CAS students, prompting them to vote on amendments concerning disqualifying candidates and applying the proposed changes to the recent election. The voting for the proposed changes closed on April 29.

Chowdhury said she is happy that the students voted in favor of the bylaws, and hopes that the changes will allow for more fair elections in the future.

“No candidate deserves to go through what I went through with this election,” Chowdhury said. “I feel confident that that risk is reduced and that candidates moving forward can feel like they have an opportunity to run without as many of the constraints as I had in my campaign.”

Contact Ania Keenan and Bruna Horvath at [email protected].