GM Week elections ongoing

MARCUS FLOWERS ’16 DELIVERS his first address as the 150th Grand Marshal.

Members of the “A Stronger Union” party were caught vandalizing campaign materials belonging to President of the Union candidate Gregory Bartell ’17 during Grand Marshal Week 2015. On Monday, April 12, RPI TV took footage of Andrew Sudano ’17, PU candidate and President of the “A Stronger Union” party, removing strips of tape from a tape mural that read “Greg for PU TD: 4/17.” The original article and accompanying video were released by The Poly and RPI TV at 6 pm on Wednesday, April 15.

The party members identified in the video were Sudano, Sean Waclawik ’18, Kayla Cinnamon ’18, and Steven Sperazza ’18. During the GM Week Debates on Wednesday, April 15, the Rules and Elections Committee released Sanction 8, which prohibited members of “A Stronger Union” from campaigning as a party, and Sudano, Waclawik, Cinnamon, and Sperazza from actively campaigning.

A student anonymously submitted images of “A Stronger Union” party members allegedly actively campaigning on Thursday, April 16. Sudano withdrew from the PU race later that night.

Sanction 9, released Friday, April 17 shortly after Sudano had withdrawn, originally disqualified GM candidate and party Co-President Michael Han ’16, Sudano, and Justin Etzine ’18, who was listed as the party manager for “A Stronger Union.” R&E revised Sanction 9 the next day, rescinding all sanctions against Han and Etzine in Sanction 9 after hearing appeals from Han and Etzine. However, R&E ruled that Sudano had violated the GM Week 2015 Election Handbook Honor Code, and sanctions against him were still applicable.

On Friday, elections results involving members of the “A Stronger Union” party were withheld pending a Judicial Board case brought by Bartell. Results for elections not involving party members were announced at the GM Week Finale at the Houston Field House on Friday, April 17.

On Sunday, April 19, the J-Board met to decide if Bartell’s claim was valid, which suggested that all elections involving “A Stronger Union” party members should be invalidated. The J-Board ultimately declared that all elections involving party members were valid, and released a letter to Bartell, which detailed the decision. Additionally, the J-Board provided suggestions to R&E for improving the GM Week Handbook for the 2016 election cycle.

The complete GM Week elections results were announced in Mother’s Wine Emporium on Monday, April 20. R&E Chairman Paul Ilori ’17 and J-Board Chairman Anthony Barbieri ’15 announced the results of the referenda votes and elections results for Class Councils and the Student Senate. All eight referenda passed.

President of the Union Erin Amarello ’15 announced that no PU candidate reached the 40 percent threshold to be elected and that there will be a runoff election with Bartell and Nicholas Dvorak ’16 on the ballot. Bartell received 35.9 percent of votes and write-in Dvorak received 14.957 percent of votes. Any votes for Sudano were considered blank.

Former Grand Marshal Kyle Keraga ’15 announced that Marcus Flowers ’16 was elected Grand Marshal with 42.6 percent of all votes. Han came in second with 38.4 percent of votes and Ryan Moriarty ’16, who ran a write-in campaign, came in third with 10.1 percent of the vote. Elections results can be found at

Another round of PU debates will be held in the McNeil Room on Thursday, April 23. Polls will be open for the PU election on Friday, April 24 from 9 am to 5 pm in the Union and the Darrin Communications Center.

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Staff Editorial

Jars are not mugs

This year’s Grand Marshal Week, to many, was a bit of a disappointment. There was, of course, the controversy regarding the tampering of campaign materials posted around campus, but aside from that, GM Week 2015 was, at least in our opinion, poorly planned, and not nearly as fun as last year’s or the one two year’s ago.

The GM Week mugs, traditionally a staple of elections, were supplanted by “GM Week jars,” which had neither handles nor lids. This was a major change from the mugs of previous years, which were mugs, and it was a very large departure from last year’s 25-ounce mugs. For comparison, this year’s jars are about 12 ounces.

In addition to the rather jarring departure from the mugs and cups of previous years, the events of GM Week 2015 were rather poorly handled. Many events, including the annual Provost Barbecue, were not publicized well, and the calendar on the GM Week website was often bereft of correct or up-to-date information. Many events that were listed were also located at inconvenient locations on campus, such as the East Campus Athletic Village, as opposed to the Armory or in front of the Voorhees Computing Center, as it was in previous years. Also, the theme for this year’s events were a bit unclear in The Poly’s eyes. Was it Mardi Gras? New Orleans? Jazz? New Orleans Jazz? We don’t know! Also, after the theme reveal at the last home hockey game, it was barely advertised at all!

While we do recognize the effort that went into producing GM Week 2015, we feel that the committee did a poor job this year compared to previous years. There was a Facebook page created for GM Week, but there were barely any updates, unless it was last minute. Unlike previous years, the Rensselaer Union page on Facebook was the group that created the event, usually the GM Week committee creates the GM Week event pages and posts about them on the RPI Facebook pages to let everyone know about the events, but this year, it was poorly maintained and barely advertised to the RPI community. Not even Reddit had any postings regarding the events for the week.

We hope that next year’s planning committee analyzes what went poorly this year, determines how to resolve these issues, and properly implements these solutions.

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Community returns to TV for an extra season: worth?

TV show still to show why it deserves reboot after cancellation

COMMUNITY RETURNS for a sixth season on the Yahoo! rescue of the show after cancellation. However, the show may fall flat as it runs out of steam.

One of my least favorite things to do is write about a show part way through. I usually dislike talking about a series when its full hand hasn’t been revealed, and there is still more to discover. But what if you don’t like what has been shown? What if it hasn’t instilled confidence in the viewer that the show has a leg to stand on? That’s how I feel about the current season of Community.

Six seasons and a movie felt like a far off dream after Community’s cancellation by NBC, and then perhaps a slight possibility when Yahoo! resuscitated the show. And though season five was a vast improvement over previous seasons for the favorite cult show with the return of Dan Harmon, perhaps it was not enough to keep the ship sailing correctly. In the new season, we see the continued loss of two of the original Greendale Seven, Troy and Pierce, while also losing two more characters. First, Buzz Hickey, the criminology teacher played by Jonathan Banks and introduced in the previous season as a seat filler for Pierce, but more importantly, Yvette Nicole Brown who portrays Shirley, one of the original cast members. The show’s character dynamic has, for lack of a better phrase, become completely f’d up. While Chang has been promoted to fill the void of the racist and incompetent that Pierce embodied, a lot of the humor from the character is lost by over-saturation. Two new characters, the organized and mature Frankie Dart that consults for the school seems to me to just be an older Annie, and the crotchety computer scientist Elroy Patashnik feels like a second Hickey.

Moving past the character relationships, this season has done nothing to set itself apart. The only memorable or “special” episode I’ve seen this season was the virtual reality episode, and while that one was good, no others have matched that standard. While certainly not as bad as season four, after the rollercoaster of quality, it is hard for me to remain enthusiastic of a show that feels like half of the product it was even two seasons ago.

While only seven episodes in, Community season six is more than half over and has a lot of ground to make up if it wants to be worthy of my continued support. I like Harmon’s work, and still look forward to Rick and Morty season two, but this show seems out of his hands with all the patchwork characters and boring scenes. I remain hopeful for a turnaround that would explain why I wanted this sixth season, and why a movie should even be considered. But so far, it all just feels streets behind.

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Engineers blow out University of Rochester

GRADUATE MIDFIELDER MEG COLITZ FIRES a shot at the University of Rochester goal in a game against the Yellowjackets last Friday afternoon. The Engineers won by a final score of 16-5.

Women’s Lacrosse utilized a strong first half to defeat the University of Rochester Yellowjackets by a score of 16-5 on Friday, April 17. Then, on Saturday, they hosted the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers, where, after taking a one-goal lead into halftime, the Engineers faltered, surrendering five second-half goals to RIT, and lost 9-8.

In Friday’s contest, Engineer graduate midfielder Meg Colitz scored 19 seconds into the game. Rochester answered quickly, scoring two goals in a span of less than two minutes to take a 2-1 lead. The second goal came with 25:18 remaining in the first half. Rochester wouldn’t score again until only a minute remained in the first half.

With 20:19 remaining in the first half, junior midfielder Erin DeLucca scored for RPI to tie the score at two. Then, on the ensuing draw, RPI took possession and proceeded to score 12 seconds later on a quick strike by senior midfielder Erin Riley. Again, RPI won the draw, took the ball into the Rochester zone and scored to go up 4-2 on senior midfielder Jamie Wakefield’s 15th goal of the season.

Rochester continued to unravel throughout the remainder of the first half, allowing 10 consecutive Rensselaer goals. At the end of the first half, RPI led 12-3. Goals were scored by Riley (3), DeLucca (3), Wakefield (2), sophomore attack Sophie Hager (2), junior attack Mackenzie O’Neil, and Colitz.

In the second half, the Engineers worked the clock and took advantage of their opportunities to maintain a comfortable lead. Riley, Hager, and Colitz all scored again to open up a 15-4 lead with only 6:09 gone by in the second half. Then, freshman attack Allison Claroni polished off the scoring with her second goal of the season with 6:44 remaining in the game.

Senior goalie Erin Amarello earned the victory, allowing four goals on seven shots through 36 minutes of action. Then, junior backup Heather MacLauchlan came in for the final 24 minutes and made one save on two shots for the Engineers.

In the second game of the weekend, the Engineers hosted a fired up RIT squad at Renwyck Field. The first half started out well for the Engineers. 84 seconds into the game, DeLucca scored her 12th goal of the season off a pass from Hager. Then, three minutes later, Hager scored to give Rensselaer a 2-0 lead. The game only got worse for the Tigers when attack Sage Serkis was assessed a yellow card with 18:42 remaining in the first half. With the Engineers up a player, they set up the mismatch in the Tigers’ zone and worked the ball around to Wakefield, who scored to put the home team up a trifecta.

The Tigers dominated the next 13 minutes of action, scoring four unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead with 3:49 left in the first half. RPI responded just 26 seconds later on another unassisted goal by Hager. Later, with 1:44 remaining, Hager found Colitz open near the RIT goal and Colitz found the back of the net to give RPI a 5-4 lead heading into halftime.

Colitz scored twice more in the first twenty minutes of the second half to allow RPI to stick with the Tigers. Colitz’s third goal of the game came with 10:25 remaining to tie the score at seven. Later, two Tiger goals in the 53rd minute gave them a 9-7 lead. With 37 seconds left, Hager scored again, but it was too little for RPI.

Winning goalie Caitlin Conway saved 13 of 21 Rensselaer shots to lead her team to a hard-earned win. In defeat, Amarello allowed nine goals on 13 shots.

Following the weekend split, women’s lacrosse moves to a record of 6-6. Next up for the Engineers are road games against Union and William Smith Colleges next Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25, respectively.

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China constructs artificial islands

Construction projects located in disputed territory

CHINA CONSTRUCTED islands in the South China Sea.

Satellite images have revealed China’s numerous structural modifications on existing islands and the construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea. These modifications include the building of airstrips and what China’s neighbors fear to be various military facilities. China claims almost 90 percent of the South China Sea and disputes various islands with Japan and South Korea. China maintains that it has the right to conduct construction projects in its sovereign territory. In recent years, China’s assertive activities in disputed waters have caused problematic friction with its neighbors (e.g., Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines).

Last year, for example, China’s relations with Vietnam cooled after a Chinese oil rig relocated in the waters of the Paracel Islands, 120 miles from Vietnam’s coast, which is within Hanoi’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone as determined by international law. Public outcry and anti-Chinese sentiment in Vietnam resulted in large riots and the displacement of many Chinese shop owners and damaged Chinese businesses. Since then, Chinese and Vietnamese diplomats have worked to rebuild ties and understanding.

Chinese scholars cite historical documents and maps in defense of China’s territorial claims. Furthermore, Chinese state media have accused the U.S. of violating its pledge to remain neutral regarding disputes in the South China Sea through its use of its Cold War era containment strategy to pit other countries up against China.

Traditionally, the U.S. is hesitant to pick sides in territorial disputes between China and its neighbors. U.S. Admiral Harry Harris Jr. has commented on recent developments, stating that China is “creating a great wall of sand,” which not only causes serious damage to the coral reefs in the area, but also hampers the effectiveness of the U.S. Navy. The head of U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, has stated that the pace and scope of China’s building program is “astonishing.” A main concern is that China may use the relevant islands and improvements to solidify its claims in the region. Such influence would result in control over the world’s most vital shipping lanes.

In response to the changing nature of the region, the U.S. is looking to bolster economic and military ties with Vietnam and the Philippines. The South China Sea is, as Admiral Locklear would describe it, “the most militarized part of the world,” in regards to the concentration of naval vessels. The U.S. plans to rebalance 60 percent of its fleet to the Asia Pacific region by 2020.

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Editorial Notebook

Sour skittles satisfyingly sweet

Editor shares candy crush

I have a huge sweet tooth. Given the option, I will consume all the sugary delights I can find until I feel sick. And then when I start to feel a little bit better, I’ll eat some more and feel really sick. You are playing a dangerous game if you decide to share your candy with me. I will respect that it is yours until you offer me some, at which point you will find yourself out of said candy.

Knowing this, you may think that I love all candies equally. That chocolates, soft candies, and hard candies are all equal in my eyes. That I can walk into a convenience store or movie theater and truly struggle to pick something because I want it all. But I’m going to tell you right now I do not struggle with this issue for there is a candy that reigns above them all. First, however, lets review some of the shortcoming of other candies.

Chocolates are a favorite of many people and I think it’s pretty clear why. The chocolatey flavor is simply unmatched; creating a silky, melting taste as you consume it. It goes great with nuts, fruits, and my personal favorite, caramel, allowing hundreds of lovely combinations to try. And while I appreciate chocolate from Hershey’s to Godiva, it’s gone all too fast. If I have a piece of chocolate, I can guarantee that it will be gone in minutes. My love of candy takes over and I can’t control it. It’s one of the reasons I’m always hesitant to buy something like a Snickers or a Three Musketeers bar. If I’m going to eat half my daily value of sugar, I want it to last more than thirty seconds.

Now you may think that hard candies would solve this problem. Hard candies are known to be long lasting. Jolly Ranchers are actually a very close second for my favorite candy because of this lovely property, but most other candies just get crunched in my impatient jaws. Hard candies can also be lacking in the “excitement factor.” Chocolates solve this by mixing with nuts, fruits, and caramel, as I mentioned before, but hard candies are just … there, and that’s boring. Soft candies, I have found, are a happy medium between the two. Lasting long enough to truly be enjoyed, but not long enough that they fall victim to my vicious molars. Now the question remains, which soft candy has the highest “excitement factor?” Without a doubt, Skittles. Not just any type of Skittles; they must be Sour Skittles.

Sour Skittles have everything going for them. Skittles themselves have good flavors and can’t be mass consumed. I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad experience eating Skittles. But Sour Skittles have something more to them. The key to their power is the sour outer coating. This coating allows for a two-part consumption sequence, which prevents me from scarfing them down and extends the candy experience. The first is torturing your tongue with the sour, making it feel raw and painful after eating. Once all of the sour has been licked off, you are rewarded with the sweet inside that helps your tongue forget its pain. This remainder can be briefly chewed to extract all the flavor before finally being swallowed. This two-part experience is what makes Sour Skittles truly the greatest candy. And anyone who disagrees with me is wrong.

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EarthFest generates plenty of opportunity

ATTENDEES VISIT the EarthFest celebration on Earth Day in 2014 and pot plants. The participants were also invited to paint pots and even work on recycled notebooks. This year’s celebration will be held April 24 at the Rensselaer Union on campus.

On Friday, April 24, from 10 am–3 pm, EcoLogic will be hosting their annual EarthFest. This event is put on by the club to celebrate Earth Day and bring awareness to environmental issues. EcoLogic will have several tables full of free goodies, such as vegan smoothies, tie-dying, paint-a-pot pot-a-plant, and a make-your-own recycled notebook station. EarthFest will take place on the Rensselaer Union Patio. Stop by for a few minutes to grab yourself a refreshing smoothie, or stay longer and tie-dye a shirt, make yourself a recycled notebook, and learn more about environmental issues and how your fellow students are working on solving them.

EarthFest has been running for many years; EcoLogic is RPI’s longest-running environmental club, dating back to the 1980s as a chapter of Student Pugwash USA. Environmental events around Earth Day and Earth Week at RPI go back even farther: in old copies of The Poly, there are advertisements for Earth Day 1970 celebrations. Many of RPI’s other environmental clubs and organizations branched off from EcoLogic, some starting as EcoLogic projects that then became too large for one club to handle. EarthFest is partially about bringing these clubs together for a collaborative event to celebrate the Earth. Over the years, EarthFest has taken place on the Quadrangle lawn, by Sage Dining Hall, and the Rensselaer Union patio. EcoLogic’s four activities have been running for many years, though there have at times been twists, such a solar-powered blender to make the smoothies. In 2011, the Green Roof Dedication Ceremony took place before EarthFest, with some green roof planting taking place during EarthFest. This is the green roof over the Union bookstore—it has been there for exactly four years today, April 22, 2015.

Clubs in attendance this year include Design for America at Rensselaer, Habitat for Humanity, Smart Lighting Club, Society of Environmental Professionals, Student Sustainability Task Force (with SustainAffinity), Terra Café, and Vasudha. Each of these clubs will have something fun to do, as well as be able to explain how their organization focuses on sustainability. DFA will be starting Drop and Swap, so bring any items you have that you don’t need any more so they can find a new home! Find more details at What the rest of the clubs will be bringing is a surprise, so be sure to come and check it out!

While EcoLogic has T-shirts for tie-dying and pots for painting, we invite you to bring your own. Have a white T-shirt or pillowcase that you’re tired of being white? Or maybe you want to make your Grand Marshal Week “mug” (jar) into a plant home? Feel free to bring it!

Join the Facebook event at to stay updated; the rain date is exactly a week later, on May 1 from 10 am–3 pm on the Union patio. Here’s to hoping that this Friday is sunny so we can all celebrate the Earth!

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Rensselaer victorious in eleven innings

FRESHMAN SHORTSTOP KACIE HERITY ROUNDS second in an attempt to take third base. The Engineers won the second of two games against St. Lawrence on Sunday.

After splitting a pair of games at State University of New York, Cortland on Saturday, April 18, softball returned home to host the St. Lawrence University Saints for their final two home games of the regular season. In the first game of the day, both pitchers dominated and the Saints’ lone run was enough to lift them past the Engineers. Then, in the second game of the day, both teams’ bats came alive and Rensselaer won a wild 11-inning game by a final score of 9-8.

The first game of the day remained scoreless until the fifth inning when Saints first baseman Brady Cooper singled past the pitcher to drive in second baseman Carly Dzekian. The run would prove to be the decisive factor in the game, as the Engineers failed to score off of St. Lawrence starting pitcher Kyle Plimpton. In seven innings, Plimpton allowed just four hits and one walk, and struck out eight en route to a complete game shutout. In defeat, RPI senior starting pitcher Kristina Weltzin gave up just four hits and one run, and struck out seven.

In the second game of the day, St. Lawrence third baseman Kelsey Murphy singled up the middle to bring in shortstop Aisha O’ Connor to give the Saints a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Later, in the third, O’ Connor scored again on a wild pitch to put the visitors up 2-0. Finally, RPI broke out of its scoreless streak on an RBI triple by senior third baseman Jena Servidone in the bottom of the third.

Then, in the fourth inning, sophomore right fielder Morgan Kollmeier singled to center to drive in freshman shortstop Kacie Herity to tie the game at two. The fifth inning proved even more fruitful for the RPI offense. Singles by Servidone, senior left fielder Jocilyn Rudisill, junior designated hitter Morgan Ten Eyck, and Herity resulted in two runs for the Engineers. Then, after a freshman Rebecca Kienz walk loaded the bases, junior second baseman Danielle Balestrini singled to right to bring in Ten Eyck and Herity, giving RPI a 6-2 lead after five innings.

Down 6-2 in the top of the seventh, St. Lawrence rallied. Five hits and a walk later, the game was tied at six and extra innings ensued.

Neither team scored in the eighth. Then, in the top of the ninth, a fielding error, a walk, and two singles allowed the Saints to take a 8-6 lead into the bottom half of the ninth inning. This time, Rensselaer rallied. Sophomore pitcher Stephanie Caudle walked. Servidone was hit by a pitch. Then, after a sacrifice bunt by Rudisill put Caudle on third and Servidone on second, Ten Eyck drilled a single past Plimpton to bring in both Caudle and freshman pinch runner Victoria Greco.

After the bottom of the ninth, the game was once again tied at eight. Again, neither team scored in the 10th, and St. Lawrence failed to score in the top of the 11th as well. Finally, after Servidone reached third with one out, Ten Eyck came up clutch again, hitting a fly ball to deep left field to bring in Servidone and give the Engineers a 9-8 win.

Following the weekend, RPI stands at a record of 16-13. Next up for the Engineers are road doubleheaders against Utica College on April 22, Union College on April 25, and Clarkson University on April 26.

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GM Week 2015 election results

Election results can be found on Flagship (

Editor’s notes:

There will be a runoff election for President of the Union on Friday, April 24 between Greg Bartell ’17 and Nicholas Dvorak ’16, since no candidate received greater than 40 percent of the vote.

3209 ballots were cast on April 16, representing 45.66 percent of the electorate.

*The Graduate Council will resolve the tie for the remaining two seats by choosing two of the following: Benjamin Walcott, Timothy Krentz, Anthony D’Amanto, Jennifer Kile, Elisabeth Brown, James Gambino, Daniel Eckhardt. These candidates all tied for fifth place with two votes.

**The newly elected 2017 Class Council will fill the remaining two class representative seats by choosing two of the following: Eryka Greaves, Samuel Waddel, Harlan Grossman. These three candidates tied for seventh place with five votes.

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Editorial Notebook

IM sports overly aggressive

As I sit here writing this notebook with a black eye and slight pain in my nose, I want to discuss intramural sports. Simply, they are recreational sports here at RPI and other schools that anyone can join to play. Just gather a team together, pay a few bucks, and you’re in a league. Back to the black eye I have, last Wednesday night I had an IM division two basketball playoff game. It’s the five versus five league, and I was pretty pumped for this game. First of all, out of all the people in the two courts at the East Campus Athletic Village, I was the only girl playing, while two others were watching. Additionally, already three times at frisbee, I was the only girl playing under the lights at the football stadium. Why was I the only girl playing? IM teams are open to everyone.

Going back to basketball playoff game, I was hit very hard when trying to get a rebound in the second half of the game. I have never played on a legitimate basketball team beforehand, but when the first half was up, I noticed the strong competition between the two teams. From the remarks made due to “bad” calls from the referee to remarks under players’ breathes. I could feel the hostility in the room, and soon enough, blood started gushing out of little Maria’s nose. My team had ended up winning, in my eyes, due to sportsmanship. There are several ideas that I took-away from this game.

To start, this should not be the reputation IM sports have on girls’ decisions to play. I believe that if more girls did play on these IM teams, the true meaning of having a good team while playing on a recreational IM team will shine. Plus, with more girls, there would be a better balance of males and females, and hopefully a better balance between team’s interactions.

Secondly, IM games should never reach a level where players are throwing f-bombs around because of referee’s calls. The referee is just a student too, there to regulate the game as best as he (never had a female ref) can. If a player feels the need to go beyond and be very competitive, then there are club sports and even varsity sports at RPI. Sportsmanship is always shown in teams that work hard, strive to succeed, and have a good time when playing sports. Another thing, people that play sports should have the ability to control themselves, if you notice you’re getting a bit out of hand, take a breather and a quick break on the sideline.

The main take-away from this notebook though, is to positively get involved. If you’re a boy or girl, played or never played a certain sport, looking for a little competition, then join an intramural team or make up your own team. There are a variety of sports on the intramural level, including basketball, frisbee, volleyball, kickball, wiffleball, and soccer. If more students can get involved with IM teams, then IM will gain back their “having a good time” reputation. What are you waiting for? Take your leadership and respectful qualities to the court or field.

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Student group celebrates annual Jashn tradition

West Hall Auditorium was witness to quite a pageant of color and sound this Saturday. The Pakistani Students Association held its annual Jashn show on April 18. ’Jashn’ translates to celebration in Urdu, Pakistan’s main language, and the show is meant to be a celebration of south Asian culture. Part of the show was a Mr. and Ms. Jashn pageant. Contestants are nominated because they are believed to represent a fusion of south Asian and western cultures; the pageant aims to find the contestant that best exemplifies this fusion.

The show kicked off with the Pakistani national anthem, sung by the members of the PakSA, followed by the American national anthem, sung by the RPI Rusty Pipes, who did a great job. After this fitting beginning, the audience was treated to an extremely energetic performance by the RPI Bhangra team, Gajde Sher. Bhangra is a north Indian art form, performed to very fast, energetic beats, and the audience seemed to really get into it. The emcees then introduced the contestants for the pageant as they walked onto the stage wearing traditional clothes from their home country, all colorful numbers. The PakSA vice president then performed an original rap, followed by the talent section for the Mr. and Ms. Jashn pageant. The talents showcased by the contestants included standup comedy, Bhangra, Bollywood dance, singing, and Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance style from south India.

The contestants then headed backstage and there was a poetry reading by Nabeel, an RPI graduate and former PakSA member, who shared a poem about the unique experience of living as a minority and about his many identities: American, Muslim, and Pakistani. It was a touching poem, although it did not have the best execution. A fashion show showcasing different styles of Pakistani clothing followed, and the models—many of whom were first timers—did a great job. The contestants then came back on stage for the final round: questions and answers. Each of the six contestants were asked both a serious and funny question and statements made during this round ranged from the entertaining to endearing:

Q: What problems have you faced due to being a part of Desi culture?

A: I’ve been practicing for a year, and I can’t dunk, and I blame that on my genes.

Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

A: Lightning speed, because I’m always late, and I blame it on being brown.

Q: What is your nickname and how did you get it?

A: Rhea, like the bird, because my parents thought I was a very curious toddler, always flitting about like a bird.

As the judges deliberated, the audience was treated to a performance by an RPI dance team formed earlier this year, which performs classical Indian dance to contemporary western beats. The show was for charity, and a raffle was held after the winners were announced and the contestants came back on stage for a final time. Simrin Kooner ’17 and Ghuraldeen Kaur ’18, who performed a great Bharatanatayam dance, won the titles of Mr. and Ms. Jashn 2015. All the contestants were presented with bouquets and chocolate and the show ended as Bollywood music played in the background.

Overall, the show was quite entertaining, and, as someone who had a backstage perspective, I can say that there were numerous little hitches and glitches that kept popping up. Kudos should be given to the PakSA President Ferheen Qureshi ’16 and Vice President Taha Mehdi ’16 for orchestrating a great show. Speaking of the celebration of culture, the subject of food can’t possibly be left out, and there was absolutely delicious Indian/Pakistani food at the event. Overall, it made for a great evening, and I’m definitely attending next year’s show.

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Alpha Phi Omega raises money for charity

Phi Gamma Delta brothers: the meanest men on campus

ALPHA PHI OMEGA RAISED $1,797.25 for Peppertree Dog Rescue in its annual Meanest Man on Campus contest during GM Week.

During Grand Marshal Week, Alpha Phi Omega hosts their annual Meanest Man on Campus Competition. Several people or groups enter, supporting a charity and encouraging anyone to vote for them. Every cent counts as a vote and the winner has all of the money donated to their chosen charity. The contenders and their charities were as follows: Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) Fraternity for Peppertree Dog Rescue, Randi Mogul and Jean Purtel for the American Cancer Society, Grand Marshal Kyle Keraga ’15 and President of the Union Erin Amarello ’15 for the Ronald McDonald House, the Office of Financial Aid for the Whiskers Animal Benevolent League, Mike & Mike of Thunder Mountain Curry for St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, The Freshman Fifteen for A Well Fed World, and finally, Tofu Tim for the Wounded Warrior Project. This year, the brothers of FIJI were the Meanest Men on Campus, and the event raised a total of $1797.25 for Peppertree Dog Rescue, which is four times more than what was raised last year.

Alpha Phi Omega tabled from 10 am–5 pm from Monday to Friday during GM Week outside of the Rensselaer Union and at the East Campus Athletic Village on Wednesday, during the GM Week carnival. Candidate posters were put up around campus to promote the charities each contender supported. In addition, the Alpha Phi Omega MMOC website contained information about each candidate and their charities, as well as a link to donate online through PayPal. Candidate Facebook pages were created which also contained the same information as on the website and provided social media updates.

In addition to social media and tabling, Alpha Phi Omega hosted Sheer Idiocy on Wednesday, April 15 from 5:30–7 pm, in the McNeil room for the MMOC debates. Sheer Idiocy performed improvisational comedy, then MC’d the debates for each candidate. Attendees received a raffle ticket and additional tickets for donating during the debates. Prizes for the raffle were Amazon and Ben and Jerry’s gift cards.

This year’s winners of the Meanest Man on Campus were the brothers of FIJI and Peppertree Dog Rescue, announced on Friday, April 17. The vote counts for the top three candidates were FIJI with 76,241 votes, Randi and Jean with 38,423, and the GM and PU with 20,550. The total number of votes were 179,725, and Alpha Phi Omega made a check for $1,797.25, which they delivered to Peppertree during Peppertree’s fun run the next day.

On Saturday, April 18, Alpha Phi Omega and FIJI attended and volunteered at Peppertree’s eighth annual Furry Fun Run at Saratoga State Park, handing the Meanest Man on Campus check to the organization at the beginning of the event. This year, 226 runners and walkers participated in the fun run; participants could run with a dog but it was not required. Upon conclusion of the event, Peppertree had raised more than $6,000, not including the check from Meanest Man on Campus.

Alpha Phi Omega hosts MMOC every year during GM Week. For more information on the event and the service fraternity itself, visit

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GM encourages committee participation

Newly elected GM looks forward to a term of student awareness

Hello RPI,

I’d like to thank you for electing me to be your 150th Grand Marshal! It’s been a long journey, and I’d like to share with you a bit about what I’ve learned while campaigning these past weeks.

A lot of what I’ve worked on in student government up until now has been about opening up communications for students to work with faculty on what we experience in our academic environment. When I’ve told students that we have this collaborative relationship, a lot of new ideas have surfaced, and I’d like to share a couple of ideas of what students have said would be helpful.

Course or seminar series to teach students new software that companies are using, in order to better prepare them for upcoming summer internships.

Accessing research centers of the nearby University of Albany, as there are already courses at RPI that allow students to travel off-campus for segments of their course.

That being said, I would like to help students understand a lot more of how the Student Senate operates within our committees. While our general body meetings allow students to learn a lot about our high priority topics, our committees are where we get to express the energy and motivation that senators and non-senator students have for the projects that we work on. This is where our projects originate; from our picnic tables, to our on-campus pharmacy work. In the next few weeks, I will be calling out to the student body for those who are interested in being a part of the work that we do in the Student Senate. These are the committees that we will be having in the coming school year: the Academic Affairs Committee, the Community Relations Committee, the Facilities & Services Committee, the Hospitality Services Advisory Committee, Student Government Communications Committee, Student Life Committee, and the Web Technologies Group.

While these are the committees (and sub-committees) that I will promote with the Student Senate, if there is a strong interest for a specific project area on campus, I am encouraging students to form a group to work on projects in that area together. My goals for the Student Senate this year are to expand our relationship with faculty and administration to discuss our academic environment, expand our community beyond our campus, and encourage students to take a hand in what changes they would like to see on campus by working with our Student Senate.

I’d like to end my first Top Hat with an acknowledgement to Michael Han ’16, who ran a great campaign, and who has proven himself to be a talented and capable individual in the Student Senate. I look forward to working with him to ensure that this coming year is successful for the Student Senate.

If you have comments, questions, or concerns, you can reach me at

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Cosmic sound returns with Danish band Mew

MEW FINALLY RETURNS with a full-length album on April 27 that showcases their subdued, yet exciting genre. The band hadn’t released an album in six years.

It’s been six years since the Danish indie alternative rock band Mew released a full-length album, but they definitely haven’t forgotten how to make a great song. Titled +-, the group’s sixth album brought their ethereal style of music into focus with a packed album of title-track worthy songs one after another. Having never heard of nor listened to the group prior to this release, I found myself apprehensive at first, but as the album progressed, I grew ever more enthusiastic. The album is easy to listen to and even easier to enjoy. Swelling melodies, deep beats, and outer space-like synth intertwine to create a rich, full array, yet the album still seems to be on a space-walk, as though it’s lighter than air and impossible to bring down.

The album opens with a song that sounds like it would fit right in on the next alien visitor’s playlist. As an opener, “Satellites” gives of a pretty false impression of the rest of the album, but it’s actually one of my favorites. The out-of-this-world feeling that this song really focuses on is just beautiful and soothing with frontman Jonas Bjerre and his absurdly light, yet traveling voice. This softer song crashes into the next as “Witness” sets the real tempo of the rest of the album: fast-paced, fun, and exactly what I’m looking for. A sweet synth and an unrelenting beat, courtesy of bassist Johan Wohlert and drummer Silas Utke Graae Jorgensen, truly carry every song in the album and really only slow down to let you breathe once the entire time. The rest of the album is full of the guitarist Bo Madsen driving home the melodies, getting your blood pumping, and bringing a truly different sound to each song.

I love the spirit of all the songs. They aren’t depressive and more upbeat, even the angelic ballads. I also couldn’t get enough of the soft synth undertones throughout the whole album. What truly made me feel enthusiastic about the whole album were the washed out vocals, rather than being the focus of the song; they are simply an equal part of it. It lets you get lost in the music and feel as though you really can hear the lyrics, which were stirring and emotional and just the right amount of indistinct and artsy.

I feel as though Mew really refined their untouchable, limitless style of music, but it’s still something you can tap your foot to and really find exciting. Many of the songs, such as “The Night Believer” or “My Complications,” had a very danceable feel, which really made them bounce. On the other hand, slower songs, such as “Water Slides,” brought out the lyrics with the singers raising the song above the rest. These slower, soothing songs are where the band shines the most with their signature fantastical and ethereal style.

Honestly, the album brought refinement and variety throughout, in comparison to other albums of similar style in the recent years. The album never faltered and never got even the tiniest bit boring. Every song brings something new to the table and deserves a listen. I loved the interlocking of the fast paced instrumentals paired with an echo-y, subdued vocal line. When trying to listen to the individual parts, the fact that the song is shared so equally among them all sucked me in further and further as I heard the balance and effort in each part. The more I listened to +-, the more fun I had. I couldn’t help but smile as the album kept on. It’s definitely one of the greatest albums I’ve heard in a while. I had an absolute blast listening to it. If you have any albums you want me to review, send me an email at and let me know!

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Runoff election to be held for President of the Union

PU congratulates newly elected officials; hails GM Week a success

Hey RPI, surprise!

Still Erin. The Rules and Elections Committee and Judicial Board had a busy weekend making decisions on all of the sanctions against the elections, but they handled it well. Last night at 9 pm in Mother’s Wine Emporium, the remaining election results for Grand Marshal week 2015 were announced. I would like to congratulate Marcus Flowers ’16 on his new position as the 150th Grand Marshal and all of the new and returning senators, class representatives, class presidents and vice presidents. I wish all of you the best of luck in your upcoming term. I would also like to congratulate my fellow alumni officers, Jacob Andrews ’15, Sarah Spellane ’15, and Colton Fisher ’15; I look forward to serving with you over the years to come.

As for the President of the Union, the fun continues. There was no winner announced last night because no candidate secured 40 percent of the vote from the student body. This means there has to be runoff elections. The elections will take place this upcoming Friday, April 24 from 9 am–5 pm in the Darrin Communications Center and in the Rensselaer Union; there will be two names on the ballot—Greg Bartell ’17 and Nick Dvorak ’16. Make sure you read up on these candidates, they both have Facebook pages and have been communicating with students on Reddit. If you see them campaigning around campus, ask them a question or two, then please come out and vote this Friday, April 24, to choose your new fearless leader. Until then, I will continue to wear the hat.

Our Mardi Gras GM Week was a great success! Thank you to all the student groups who participated and to the GM Week Committee for pulling it all together. Sadly, Kyle and I did not win the Meanest Man on Campus competition, but our congratulations goes out to FIJI on their victory. All of the money raised will go to support their cause of Peppertree Rescue animal shelter.

As a quick update on the American Sniper situation, UPAC Cinema will be showing the movie this Sunday, April 26 in DCC 308. There will be a discussion panel beforehand at 6 pm for those students who wish to attend. Showings will be at 7 pm, 9:30 pm, and 12 am. This movie night will be free with your student ID or $2.50 without it. I hope to see a lot of you there; not only is it an awesome movie, but the discussion panel gives us a unique opportunity to learn from each other and learn about different cultures and beliefs held by our fellow students.

This weekend there is also the annual Relay for Life event held on Friday, April 24–Saturday, April 25 in the Armory. The event is a ton of fun, raises money for Colleges Against Cancer, and it’s Disney themed this year—what’s not to love? On April 27 at 6:30 pm in DCC 308, Alpha Omega Epsilon is hosting our eighth annual Rensselaer’s Got Talent show. Tickets are $3 before the show, $5 at the door, and all proceeds go to a charity of the winner’s choice, with the winner chosen by the audience.

I would like to congratulate the winners of our club landing page competition. The Marketing, Advertising, and Publicity Committee looked at every club’s landing page on the new Rensselaer Union website and chose the top three pages. The inaugural winners of the contest (we plan on doing this every year) are Rensselaer Crew Club in first place, Habitat for Humanity in second place, and Pi Tau Sigma in third place. Please go pick up your prizes at the Union Administration Office front desk!

Thank you to everyone for a wonderful year. Good luck to the PU candidates in your campaigning. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to email me at in the upcoming week. I will not have official office hours tomorrow, but I will probably be doing homework in there anyways. Have an awesome week as always, RPI!

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Polytechnic editorial board endorses Dvorak

Unanimous support comes after interviews with runoff election candidates

For initial general election, the editorial board of The Polytechnic voted for no endorsement in the 2015 race for President of the Union, due to a board-wide underlying conflict of interest involving a candidate on the ballot. For those who are unaware, the original general election, held Thursday, April 16, failed to elect a candidate. Because of this, there will be a runoff election involving the two still-eligible candidates who received the most votes from the original election, these candidates being Gregory Bartell ’17 and Nicholas Dvorak ’16. Due to this, our staff has been allowed to return to an objective position on the candidates in the race. In a unanimous vote of the members of the editorial board present, on Tuesday, April 21 we have elected to endorse Dvorak in this election.

From your very first encounter with him, Dvorak exudes approachability and strong communication skills. He appears passionate about all he speaks about and does. We feel that he is the type of leader students can get behind, and one which may cause students to feel compelled by to get involved with in student government. This is a skill which outgoing former Grand Marshal Kyle Keraga ’15 also possessed, and was, in our opinion, a major component to the successes in his term. This is something we would love to see continue on in the leaders of student government, especially in the Executive Board and its committees. We believe that, if elected, Dvorak would be someone who is caring and passionate about the success of students in their club-related endeavors.

Dvorak’s leadership experience comes from a wide range of sources, including having held a positions such as vice president of finance for his fraternity, the administrative director for UPAC Lights, a member of the Interfraternity Council Executive Board, and from real-world experience through previous summer internships. From all of this, it is clear that he is very qualified and experienced in understanding how a complex organization should be run and what will lead to success in specific situations. This is among the many reasons why we feel strongly that he is the best candidate for the position.

Another positive comes from Dvorak’s plans for the Executive Board over the next year. He believes strongly in implementing better relationships and lines of communication between club officers and E-Board representatives, and plans to require meetings with clubs at least once a month, which is a stark contrast from what currently occurs. Additionally, he plans to work towards helping clubs and their representatives create four-year financial and general operating plans to better ensure club longevity, growth, and purchasing ability for new and better equipment. We believe strongly that these growths in communication will lead to improvements to the process for both sides.

Another aspect of Executive Board operations which Dvorak plans to work at is the ease of accessing relevant information for club officers. Dvorak offered examples of this to us in our interview with him, including utilizing the new Rensselaer Union website to make pertinent documents and forms easily found, writing a personal, to-the-point cover page for the Union Annual Report, and creating a guide to working with the Executive Board as a club officer.

What it comes down to with Dvorak is that our staff strongly believes that he is the candidate that, if elected, will get the most done and do the most good for the outward success of student government as a whole. He is the type of individual who would stand up for what he believes in, and makes sure that it is achieved in the best ethically possible manner, if those beliefs are the best thing for the student body as a whole.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article was published in the April 22, 2015 issue. The version posted here has been corrected for grammatical and stylistic errors only.

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To the Editor:

Student politics at RPI are confusing. The past two elections have been sullied by poster tampering and, I must say, I am still at a loss as to why a candidate would risk removing a few posters given the ramifications. I’m confused further as to how they could not learn from the mistakes of the previous year. Sure, I can see why they would want an edge over their opponents, but if they’re so desperate to win that they break the rules of the very organization they are running for, then why run for the position in the first place?

What confuses me the most, though, is that political parties have formed in our student government. I can understand the need for different political parties on the national and regional scale that represent the wide spectrum of views help by citizens of a democracy, but I’m at a complete loss as to why we need this at a student union. There are some 7,000 students here at RPI, and the student union budget comes in at $56,000, so this isn’t some petty, extra-curricular club we’re talking about, it’s a legitimate decision-making entity whose actions can have a measurable effect on all RPI students. Does that constitute the need for political factions? Are the views and needs of RPI clubs and students so disparate and irreconcilable that we need to have our representatives conform to a political doctrine before we even vote for them? I don’t think so. What’s even more confusing is that I could find precious little information about what these parties stand for; save for the classic rhetoric of transparency, communication, etc. The natural question to ask is: why do these political parties at RPI exist?

If you wanted to get involved in the student union, then it would surely be advantageous to ally yourself with an established group of people who already hold positions. Then, when it’s your turn to run for a major position, you know you’ll have the support of all your members in return. It’s a superb idea, and democracies all over the world practice it, but we don’t need it at RPI. It will breed cronyism, nepotism, and partisanship. It might give a leg-up to those who are prepared to toe the party line, but it will definitely put further distance between the offices of power and those whom they purport to represent. This division in the union and disconnection from the student body is already happening. The campaign of a 2015 write-in candidate captured this disenfranchisement with the insipid slogan: “Average, Casual, Frat.” The student government is so insular, so broken, that even with this beautiful weather and heavy RPI workload, somebody found the time to run a campaign solely to poke fun at it.

RPI deserves better. You deserve better. Who you vote for is up to you, but if your union candidate is politically affiliated, who exactly are you voting for?

Dean Howarth

Ph.D. Candidate

Department of Physics

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Alumni encourage greener RPI

Today marks the 45th celebration of Earth Day. While much has been accomplished, both here at Rensselaer and worldwide, it is still vital that there is a sustained push for environmental sustainability. Examples of extreme weather, such as the California drought and superstorms like Sandy and Irene, are projected to become more frequent in a warmer climate.

Rensselaer’s motto is “Why Not Change the World?.” The world certainly needs changing if climate change is going to be mitigated, and the alumni of the Student Sustainability Task Force firmly believe that Rensselaer should be the leader. During our time at Rensselaer, we worked tirelessly to make that happen. But, we are disappointed that our alma mater remains far behind other colleges and universities in terms of sustainability. Many peer institutions have an Office of Sustainability with dedicated staff. At RPI, the idea was to have students, faculty, staff, and the administration working side-by-side to make Rensselaer more sustainable; thus, SSTF was formed. Major steps were taken, a and these include the 2009 Sustainability Charrette, the new sustainability studies major, single-stream recycling, the green roof over the Rensselaer Union bookstore, the creation of Vasudha, annual environmental events such as EarthFest, the EcoHall Challenge, and much more. These have been collaborative joint efforts between students, faculty, staff, and the administration. Sadly, efforts from the administration have dropped off in the past few years. In the last completed Rensselaer Sustainability Report, an examination of the state of sustainability at Rensselaer found that we, as an institution, are disappointingly behind.

We are concerned about Rensselaer being content to not lead on these important issues for several reasons. First, we want to see our alma mater continue to rise to new heights in the areas to which we devoted ourselves during our time there. Second, Rensselaer has the opportunity to be the leader when it comes to sustainability. The engineers and scientists being educated here today need to gain the skill set to deal with complex environmental problems. Third, one of the tenets of The Rensselaer Plan is to encourage socially active students. Many young people are concerned about environmental issues; we worry that these socially active young people will go to other colleges that are ahead of Rensselaer. Fourth, sustainability can have an economic upside—if not in the short term, then in the long term. RPI has outdated infrastructure issues, as evidenced by the upcoming closure of North Hall and E-Complex. Greening these buildings and others in need of updates will save money in reduced utility bills.

It is time for another push towards sustainability. Currently, a couple groups of incredibly dedicated and motivated students are working hard to make sustainability happen at RPI. Their leadership and initiative has led to many great student-led projects. We don’t want to take away from that, but we believe that leadership coming from the administration, as we saw for the 2009 Sustainability Charrette, would go a long way. Certain projects require leadership from the administration; student leaders can suggest these projects, but cannot see them through implementation on their own. Another sustainability charrette, perhaps using findings from the 2014 sustainability report, would be a great way to get the conversation going and figure out the next steps to take for a greener Rensselaer.

Current Rensselaer students in the SSTF are working on a green revolving fund, which is an excellent step towards finding funding for green projects at RPI. Their pilot project was recently approved and we hope that the GRF keeps moving forward; other colleges have seen great results from their GRFs and we are sure that RPI can garner the same success. Not only will the GRF green Rensselaer, but students will gain valuable research and project management skills when creating project proposals. The GRF is one example where SSTF members and the administration will need to work together to come up with a workable method for selecting projects and other details of the fund. We are excited to see this project come to fruition, as it will provide the means to implement sustainability projects.

Rensselaer was making great strides towards sustainability for several years, prior to Fall 2011. We firmly believe that Rensselaer can get back on track and become one of the greenest colleges in the nation, from academics to facilities to staff training to student life. We respectfully ask the administration to take the leadership to do so, working with the student leaders, SSTF, and the other environmental clubs and organizations on campus.

Elizabeth Anderson ’14G

Former SSTF Chair,


Benjamin Cohen ’11G

Founder and Former

SSTF Co-Chairperson

Benjamin Hunt ’11G

Former SSTF Chairperson

Jaron Kuppers ’12G

Former SSTF Co-Chairperson

Jesse Noviello ’15

Former SSTF Co-Chairperson

Sarah Parks ’12G

Founder and Former

SSTF Co-Chairperson

Roger Barrett Rehr ’12

Former SSTF Chairperson

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GM Week 2015

J-Board finds all elections valid

The Rensselaer Union Judicial Board ruled on Sunday that all election results remain valid, instructing the Rules and Elections Committee to release results at their discretion.

In a letter addressed to Gregory Bartell ’17, J-Board Vice Chairman Orlando Hernandez ’15 stated that the issues raised by Bartell regarding invalidation of all A Stronger Union party members’ elections were unfounded. The letter also made recommendations to R&E for inclusions in next year’s Grand Marshal Week Handbook.

The decision can be found at

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GM Week 2015

All results involving members of “A Stronger Union” witheld pending J-Board case

The Rules and Elections Committee has released a decision regarding the results of all races involving party members of “A Stronger Union.” The decision can be seen below or on Flagship (

Due to pending appeals to the Judicial Board, the Rules and Elections Committee has decided to withhold the results of all races involving members of the party, A Stronger Union, pending the ruling of the Judicial Board. Approved: 6-0-0 Members Present: Paul Ilori (chair), Michael Hoherchak, Victoria Phan, Anthony Barbieri, Paul Blejwas, Tim Breen, Jacob Derechin

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