A student government scandal has overtaken the last days of school at Stuyvesant High School as the winning candidate for student body president is fighting his “unprecedented” disqualification from the election.
“Democracy should prevail … Students call me every night, asking me to keep fighting. They’ve compared this to China, Russia, Venezuela,” Jack Cahn, the disqualified candidate, told The New York Times.
The Times describes Cahn as an A average student who speaks four languages and is a ranked debater. Cahn also told The Times that “three girls [asked] him to prom this year.”
Cahn was found guilty of three election violations by the school’s student-run Board of Elections — using school resources for campaign materials, posting more than three posters on a bulletin board, and “belittling the opposing mate” — according to a change.org petition asking Stuyvesant’s principal to reverse the disqualification.
New York City education blog GothamSchools writes that Cahn was charged with “slander” after he sent a private Facebook message to potential supporters alleging his opponent “accomplished very little” as a representative in student government. This third strike eventually led to Cahn’s removal from the race.
However, one Board of Elections member said the body was never consulted about the disqualification and the decision was made solely by the Board’s chairmen. According to the petition, this “whistle-blower” has since been fired from the Board.
Cahn’s appeals have proved fruitless so far. In a statement reaffirming their decision, the Board of Elections called Cahn’s campaign “an unprecedented event in which a candidate so willingly chose to bend and twist the rules and regulations to gain an unfair advantage.” Stuyvesant’s principal has also upheld the Board’s ruling.
Cahn’s disqualification was announced on the night of the election as the school learned he had won by a vote of 447 to 329, which the petition calls “one of the largest margins in recent school history.”
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