LIZ ANASTASIADIS, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus—Recent instances of poster vandalism and personal attacks against Denison Campus Governance Association (DCGA) candidates have shaken up the campus community.
Election day was held on Monday, April 26—and students voted via email ballots. Once the votes were tallied later that evening, Daniel Seely ‘23 was announced as the new President-Elect with Zora Whitfield ‘24 as Vice President-Elect. This past DCGA election season held three remarkable candidates running for the position of student body president. Candidates included current Vice President Sarah (Sueshin) Moon ‘22, Alex Pan ‘24 and Daniel Seely ‘23.
“I was doing some financing and going through my meeting notes when I got a text from a friend about my poster being vandalized in the elevator,” says Pan in an interview with The Denisonian. “It made me really sad, because I expect more from this community. It was the third time it happened… I collapsed at 6am and missed all my classes for the day because I was so tired of dealing with it.”
After receiving the news, Pan immediately emailed DCGA Elections Chair Fatimah Elghazawi ‘21. However, Pan also shared that this wasn’t the first instance of hateful comments directed at him and said he received hate on the anonymous Instagram troll account @denisonbeef.
During another instance, a whiteboard on the Slayter mailroom floor with leaders that engaged with the Cross-Cultural Community (C3) was messed with. On the board, someone crossed out Pan’s name and wrote someone else’s. People came forward recently about this instance, says Pan.
“One had no malice or harm and they apologized for it,” says Pan. “We’re all here to learn, we’re all adults, so let’s sit down and talk like adults.”
The morning of election day started with a statement from the DCGA Election Review Committee on their social media pages regarding the instances of
Part of the statement, signed by Elections Chair Fatimah Elghazawi ‘21, PR Chair Maddy Murphy ‘23 and Speaker Mayank Kumar ‘21 read: “We would like to strongly condemn the vandalism that has occurred against several candidates, including more than one instance targeting presidential candidate Alex Pan, running for this upcoming academic year to serve the student body. Multiple reports have been received regarding these uncalled for actions and they are not being dismissed. This behavior is completely unacceptable and these do not correlate with the values that we hold as representatives of the student body,” it said.
“Racism, vandalism, and any more forms of targeting our candidates and any member of the community, are not tolerated.”
These issues of vandalism surrounding groups like DCGA are not new. In 2019, poster vandalization affected DCGA candidates, as well as C3 organizations being
targeted by the previous DCGA Budget Committee. These instances led to student-led protest and outrage.
“Campus safety and other university staff have been following up on the reports of campus vandalism this past week by talking with individuals and groups,” says Dr. Bill Fox, Dean of Students. “I concur with student sentiment that when students step up to lead and serve their community, it is disheartening to see such behavior from peers. I support the election committee’s message stating it was not acceptable… Unfortunately that particular weekend we also saw an unusual increase in damage across the campus that residential communities and facilities services staff have been responding to.”
Nonetheless, Pan says he will still serve as a DCGA class senator next year despite the comments against him.
“We don’t stand for crap like this but if you did it I’m not out to hunt you down and get you in trouble,” says Pan. “But I want people to own up to their mistakes.”