The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday December 1st

CAA Hopefuls: Use Last Days To Get Dirty

It hasn't been pretty. Most of it borders on downright ridiculous, what with the nefarious e-mails, accusations and the use of the phrase "smoking gun." The aftermath of said nonsense has resulted in hearings with the Board of Elections, a violations and a re-election.

The two chief players are candidates Reid Chaney and Michael Songer.

At the crux of their platforms and this debacle was Carolina Fever. Chaney wanted to keep the Fever kids sweating, Songer promised to give them the boot.

Enter Davin McGuinness, former president of Carolina Fever. Word on the street is that mere moments before students cast their votes for the post, McGuinness supposedly sent out a mass e-mail. The message: Songer is a bad, dishonest dude. Chaney is cool. Vote for Chaney.

The election went to Chaney by five votes. But Songer contested the results, saying the e-mail screwed his campaign. Chaney denied being in cahoots with McGuinness.

Thus, a new election.

What surprises me is that the two candidates are surprised by any of it.

I've long touted the benefits of not taking student elections seriously. But despite my warnings, candidates do take it seriously. They put in the time and the money. They miss class and sleep. They treat it like a real election.

Which is why they should not be shocked when real-life election problems like negative campaigning crop up.

We've all seen that nonsense on television when races start to heat up: "Candidate Mike Wilson comforts old people on sunny days and cradles babies with the touch of a mother hen. (Cue ominous music) But his opponent, Lloyd Jennings, likes to KILL babies! So on Election Day, don't vote for the candidate who will fondle your sister. Cast yours for the one who will hold hands with her while skipping through a flower-filled field with a waterfall in the background."

It would be nice if candidates could stand merely on the strengths of their platform and character and let the best man win. But the CAA fiasco has only confirmed suspicions that students on this campus are going to perk up and listen when it starts to get ugly.

Let us revisit the days of yesteryear in February 1996, when SBP-elect Aaron Nelson was depicted with devil horns and pitchfork on the cover of the Carolina Review while being lampooned for his religious beliefs. Or February 1999, when controversy surrounding possible violations by SBP candidate Amanda Greene prompted two election board members to resign in the middle of the election fracas.

And that's just to name a few.

Songer has maintained that the negative e-mail made such an impact on students that they did not vote for him.

He should have hit back just as hard. If these candidates want it so bad, they should take off the gloves at the mere hint of impropriety.

Because being the good guy who refuses to stoop down to "that level" isn't going to get you very far with UNC students. Let me remind you these are the same students who voted in two basketball players to Congress posts, who pay attention to the catchiest slogan and flier and whose loyalty can be swayed with one pathetic mass e-mail.

And that's if they even come out to vote. I say get down in the mud and start throwing it with both hands.

Because when it comes to CAA, the student body doesn't give a damn about your character or your honesty. They don't care if you're trying to pad your resume. They don't care if you play with Barbie dolls or if you wear your clothes like pop-sensation Kriss Kross.

The just want their basketball tickets, plain and simple.

I'm not taking sides between Songer and Chaney or even pointing a finger at McGuinness. I don't care that much.

But I say this to the candidates: You have one day left before the election. Make a splash and make it count.

Because students are only going hear who gets the last word.

Columnist Ashley Stephenson can be reached at

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