Originally published in the NDSU student newspaper, The Spectrum, in 1988 under the headline, “Student Body Election causes turmoil within the Greek system.”
NDSU Student Body Election, Spring 1988
The campaign rhetoric is all over, the ballots have all been cast, and NDSU has a new student president and vice president, Julie Albertson and Brian Kittelson, respectively.
Thank goodness. All the signs will be torn down and campus life can get back to normal, right? Wrong. Last week’s election may be over, but the students of SU are left treading words in a vast sea of controversy, and some of us are drowning.
As we all know by now, Albertson and Kittelson have been accused and found guilty in violation of university policy concerning the use of alcohol. Specifically, the sale of alcohol to minors. The complaint, which was filed by Tom Martin, chairman of the Pete Kinsella/Dawn Lervik campaign, came after a party thrown at the Sigma Chi fraternity. Incidentally, the pair of Kinsella/Lervik came in second in the election.
Clifford E. Smith, Jr., a senator for the College of Business, put forth a resolution which asked for the resignation of the candidates. Last Sunday, the student Senate passed the resolution.
Shortly after election day, yellow mini-posters were plastered all over campus urging students to “get the facts” concerning their new student leaders. Being a curious type of person, I said to myself, “Heck, yeah, let’s get the facts.” So, I decided to make a few phone calls.
Usually, when people plaster a telephone number all over the place urging you to phone in to “get the facts,” they have a specific interest in mind. I decided not to call the number on the mini-posters; I made a few calls on my own.
I decided to go straight to the head of the matter and call all of the people involved to see what they had to say. I must admit, I chose a bad part of the day to make my calls because most of the people involved were not at home to comment.
“Hello, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Can I help you?”
“Yeah. Could I speak to a Mr. Clifford Smith?”
“Sorry, he’s not here right now.”
Calls to other individuals all went the same way. Almost every person involved in this controversy is a member of a sorority or a fraternity. I suppose it is no secret that Albertson is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, and that Kittelson is a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. Also, it is no grave-roller that Kinsella is a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, as are Smith and Martin.
Now, let me see. Kinsella/Lervik came in second. Kinsella is an SAE. The complaint to the student supreme court came from Martin, also an SAE. Things were starting to make more sense.
As I laid the phone down after my last call, a story came to mind which I had heard repeated over and over again on Sundays when I was a child. It had something to do with the stoning of an adulteress and wise man’s intervention. In defense of the woman, the wise man said, “Let he among you who hath not sinned cast he first stone.”
Obviously, the gentlemen of the SAE fraternity slept through Sunday mass. You see, I have been to a party at the SAE house. I walked in the door, a guy asked me for $4, which I gave him, and he gave me a cup to fill with keg beer. (By the way, fellas, four bucks is a little steep for a keg cup.) Oh, and one other thing. I am only 20 years old.
I am not condoning the actions of Albertson and Kittelson. Even though I am an avid party-goer and I drink my share of alcohol now and again, at the age of 20, minor in consumption is still against the law.
One the other hand, you don’t see me casting any stones, either.
I’ve always hated hypocrisy, and in 1988 I saw it in abundance in the NDSU student body election. The post above is the first letter to the editor I ever wrote. The editor of the student newspaper invited me to write more, and next thing I knew I was a regular contributor to the opinion page. Who would have guessed that, all these years later, I’d still be writing about elections and calling B.S.
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