After observing the ASSU elections for the past couple of days, I think it’s worth commenting on a recent issue involving Stewart Macgregor-Dennis. A decently coordinated campaign was launched today raising the question of ODesk expenditures. While questioning the nature of these expenditures and privacy concerns is legitimate, it has been coupled with jokes and even attacks on Stewart regarding issues that are somewhat irrelevant to his merits as an ASSU Executive candidate. I argue that Stewart’s life plan, his tweets, and memes about him should not be used by voters as they make their choices at the polls. While we care about the character of candidates in ASSU races, I do not see how the life plan or tweets contribute much to our picture of Stewart’s character, beyond his passion for hyper-organization and productivity. A much better evaluation would be looking at his actions in the ASSU over this past year, basically doing the same things he’ll be doing next year.
Certainly, Stewart is a public figure and he lives in a very public way. He understands that there will be critics, and as far as I can tell he tries to take the jokes and criticisms in good nature. But at this point, some of the attacks have crossed into ad hominem territory. I have been one of the first to critique and make suggestions to the Cruz/Macgregor-Dennis administration, and I will be one of the first to tell you to think very hard about your vote for ASSU Executive this year. But I want to see a Stanford culture that respects people and focuses on issues. This campaign against Stewart is devolving into a character take-down, something that for his sake, and ours, we should avoid.