Dear St. Olaf Community,

Over 30 students have decided to run to represent the St. Olaf Community in different positions on the Student Senate.  These candidates have hung posters, shared their platforms, and spoke on several occasions to communicate their passion and vision for these positions.

Last week, a candidate currently campaigning for one of these SGA positions informed us that their poster had been deliberately vandalized. Furthermore, we have heard of other discriminatory and personal attacks against candidates regarding topics including those of race and gender.

These hateful words and actions exist within a broader context of campus and nation-wide shortcomings. As fellow students, we apologize and extend our support to anybody affected by these events. We write to you because we feel compelled to encourage the ongoing conversations about making our campus more inclusive. Any form of discrimination is unacceptable and every student should feel safe and comfortable in our community.

As disappointing as it is to think that fellow students in our community would commit these actions, it is equally troubling to know that there were likely witnesses to these events who have not spoken up. We ask anyone with knowledge of any such incidents to step forward to the Dean’s office and help us identify responsible individuals. Silence in these matters of discrimination contributes to the systems of oppression.

Regardless of an individual’s decision to support or not support a candidate, their actions must be respectful and inclusive. We, as fellow St. Olaf students, expect the St. Olaf community to support these candidates in a positive and respectful fashion.

As we continue through the election season and beyond, we encourage all students to think critically about how to empower our community through respect and inclusion. Thank you for your sensitivity and willingness to take the necessary steps to improve our community.

Sincerely,

Ginny Larsen, Brandon Cash, Britta Larson, Danny Mohama, Jackie Tanis, Joe Briesemeister, Michael Burgdorf, Nick Nooney, & Ruth Whittington
Members of the 2016 Election Commission

John Bruer & William Seabrook
SGA President & Vice President

Emma Lind, Hector Poveda, Kyle Wilmar, & Sarah Bresnahan
Candidates for SGA President & Vice President