Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Morning Wood: Rob Corddry to oversee investigation into SGA election interference

Appointed by Chancellor following claims of compromised candidates
(Alvin Buyinza/ Daily Collegian)

On Monday, University of Massachusetts Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced the formation of an elite investigatory squad to oversee allegations into illegal Student Government Association campaign activity.

Rob Corddry, alumnus (class of ’93) and star of the critically-acclaimed “Hot Tub Time Machine” and Golden Raspberry Award-nominated “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” was announced as special counsel for the investigation by the Chancellor. In the press conference, Subbaswamy went into depth about the process behind his selection.

“We had a shortlist, and Rob was near the top,” Subbaswamy said. “I reached out to Robert Mueller, but he didn’t return our calls. Thankfully, Rob Corddry, who is beloved by the campus community for his work in HBO’s “Ballers” and his four Emmy awards on Adult Swim, is an equally good option to investigate complaints about the SGA election.”

A number of theories have gained traction following the end-of-February elections for SGA president relating to foreign involvement in the elections by agents of Amherst College. One student dining worker reported seeing a group of students wearing Amherst College hoodies solicit votes for the winning Sullivan/Latimer-Ireland ticket in a dining hall.

Others have claimed that “dark money,” illegally obtained from agents of the Amherst College Student Government, has become a financial resource in SGA campaigns. Students have pointed out the Sullivan/Latimer-Ireland campaign promise of establishing stronger relations with Amherst College and waiving restrictions on five-college enrollment to back the suggestion that the campaign was “compromised” by Amherst College.

These claims have resulted in campus-wide turmoil. Hundreds of students have sat-in outside the SGA offices, claiming that the democratic process had been subverted.

“The instant I heard about the election irregularities, I was outraged,” junior social unrest major Jacob Wahil said. “I ran to the student government offices in Bartlett Hall as fast as I could, only to find that there were a dozen students like me already there protesting.”

The stakeout of students has resulted in continuous protests around campus by students affiliated with the UMass SGA Rise Up campaign. Collective student action around campus also included a protest march outside Hampshire Dining Commons and a 48-hour long sit-in outside Subbaswamy’s office.

Subbaswamy, who until earlier this week had not addressed the controversy directly, was criticized for his initial response to the scandal. In a widely-criticized email message to the campus community, he had stated that “the demand for change in the Student Government Association must come from within, and not from fringe activist groups on campus.”

Following the release of his letter, protests immediately began outside his office in Whitmore Administration Building.

“If the chancellor won’t recognize our authority, then we’ll have to make clear to him just how much of the UMass community is on our side,” a statement attributed to the Rise-Up activism campaign said. “Students at this University simply want a strong and uncompromised SGA with fair elections.”

Facebook opinion polling has shown that of 86 percent of students support the campaign, with only two percent who disapprove.

“And after I re-watched that classic scene in “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” where a parallel-universe version of Rob shot his normal-universe self while dressed up in a Minuteman costume,” Subbaswamy said, holding back tears, “it struck me how he truly is a UMass Minuteman at heart. Someone with that passion is exactly what we need right now amongst this campus climate of division. Rob Corddry alone can fix the structural issues in our campus community.”

In a statement released by Corddry, he said that “the investigation will be fair and balanced. I’ll begin it soon, just as soon as I figure out what a special counsel actually does. Should I shoot for it to be more like the Salem Witch Trials or the Benghazi investigations?”

In announcing a special counsel to investigate the matter, Subbaswamy has acknowledged his inability to be an accurate assessor of the campus climate, supporters say. Members of SGA who oppose the probe have so far praised Corddry’s ability to run an impartial investigation, and don’t seem concerned about its possible findings.

When asked if they were worried about possible litigation as a result of the probe, the winning presidential candidates declined to respond directly, directing us to their spokesman. When their spokesman was questioned, on the advice of her own lawyer, she provided a statement from the campaign’s lawyer which read, “as we have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what the campus community already knows: there was no collusion between the Sullivan/Latimer-Ireland campaign and any foreign entity.”

When the campaign’s lawyer was also asked if they were worried, he provided a statement from his own counsel reading: “Yes, kind of.”

At press time, the president-elect of SGA posted on Twitter that “this WITCH HUNT of an investigation is nothing but an ILLEGAL TAKEDOWN OF THE SGA,” in response to breaking news that his campaign manager had been placed into custody by UMPD for running an underground iClicker answer ring.

Robert Mullins exclusively uses the Google+ social network, which is about to be shut down. You can contact him there until April 2, but it’d be better not to since he’s still a bit emotional about the whole shutdown thing.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *