Student Leadership and Involvement Center at the University of Utah Asia Campus. (Photo by Mitch Shin | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Susan Park and Sandy Kim won a landslide victory against John Kim and Wonji Kim in the 2019-2020 student council election at the University of Utah Asia Campus (UAC) after three separate elections were held. Park and Sandy Kim were elected as the new student council president and vice president with 76.2 percent of the vote. The election is over, but the voting process still has lasting effects on the campus.

Randy McCrillis, Dean of Students at UAC, announced his decision to postpone the student council election on May 17 through an email blast to the UAC community. According to McCrillis’ email, he postponed the election because of the “security of ballot.” Some students shared their concerns about the security of ballot in the second election, so McCrillis decided to nullify it and proceed to the third election with a new format.

UAC students already voted for the candidates during the voting period, from May 15 to May 17, through OrgSync. However, UAC students needed to vote again from May 21 to May 23 due to the decision by the Dean of Students office.

It was the first time students were asked to re-cast their votes for the election due to OrgSync. UAC has used this online voting format for its elections since its opening, but it is the first time that students raised concerns about security issues.

Cody Garrison, Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Involvement and Residence Life, said that OrgSync is “the most efficient format” for UAC students to vote. Garrison recognized that there were some problems on the voting format, but otherwise had no further comment on their decision.

Garrison sent an email to students before the first election with a personal verification code on May 13, but every student received the same code number.

Candidates for the student council presented their speech on May 15 at 12p.m. at UAC | Mitch Shin.

Outside of the election process itself, some students and staff were frustrated with specific individuals. According to the Dean of Students’ office, students filed a complaint to McCrillis about Young-Joo Cho, vice president of the student council and a student council election chair. These students claimed that Cho was “unfair and impartial” and called his behavior “inappropriate” as an election chair during the student council campaign. Vice presidents are historically in charge of managing the student council elections at UAC. However, after these complaints were received, Henry Lee, the chief of staff of UAC’s student council made the decision to change the election chair. Garrison informed the UAC community via another email blast that the election chair was changing from Cho to Keely Kringlen, who is a graduate student at UAC.

The student council presented an information session on April 16 for students who wanted to run for the election and planned to vote from May 8 to May 10, but they presented an information session again on May 7 and changed the voting period due to the substitution of the election chair. UAC election board needed to reschedule the whole process of the student council election due to the complaints about the former election chair.

The UAC election board hosted the debate on May 15 at U108 for the candidates to introduce their visions and goals to improve UAC and inform voters about why they should be the leadership team of the student council.

Two pairs of candidates were running for the student government leadership team — Park and Sandy Kim, and John Kim and Wonji Kim. Park, who ran for the position of presidency, is currently working as an orientation leader. John Kim, who is currently the president of the student council, was running for his second term. Sandy Kim and Wonji Kim were both running for vice president, and both had experience as student leaders at UAC.

John Kim and Wonji Kim made five major commitments for the election — a major camp, more internship and scholarship opportunities, increasing the budget for student organizations, increasing student leadership opportunities and interacting with ASUU.

From left to right, Sandy Kim, Susan Park, Wonji Kim, John Kim are introducing their commitments in the speech on May 15 at 12 p.m. at the University of Utah Asia Campus. (Photo by Mitch Shin | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Park and Sandy Kim made three major commitments for the election — increasing communication, promoting and accepting diverse clubs and providing academic convenience.

Since John Kim is the president of the student council, there were some students that questioned his neutrality as a candidate. Students were suspicious that he had access to look at the whole process of the election through OrgSync with his UID. McCrillis explained some issues surrounding the student council election on May 21 via email to the UAC community: “Investigation commenced on Friday, May 19 at 5:00 p.m., and it revealed that the reported irregularities were occurring. Thus, I have determined the need to nullify the election and the subsequent results.”

As a result of the irregularities within the last ballot, students needed to vote in the format with more advanced security.

John Kim contacted the Daily Utah Chronicle on May 21 during the third election period and claimed that the second election had been rigged. John Kim also said that he can provide the information which he got from OrgSync to the Chronicle. He, however, was ultimately not able to provide the information.

It was the first time in UAC history that students had to revote for the third election in a month. UAC students will not be voting for their candidates in the Orgsync format in future elections.

m.shin@dailyutahchronicle.com

@TheChrony

Mitch Shin is the University of Utah Asia Campus correspondent for the Chronicle.

15 COMMENTS

  1. The existence of UAC itself is a disgrace to us. Do we really need UAC which is undermining the value of UTAH and SLC? It’s too amateurish.

      • Well, I don’t think so… As an UAC student, I really have disappointed about faculties and facilities. With this case as a momentum, I think the Main campus should manage this issue seriously and take strong actions to the Asia Campus.

        • If you’re not satisfied with UAC, Do Something for your school. I wanna let you know that talk with your faculty rather than writing your comments on here, if you wanna change your school.

    • Maybe….eight?? And I wanna say that UAC is a tough school for international students to attend. Korean is kind of their official language to speak on campus. If you consider to come to UAC, please do not make that stupid decision. I am glad that Chronicle is working to show the behind scene of UAC where just promoting their decorated image by staff.

      • The official language at the UAC is English, for anyone wondering. This is enforced
        throughout campus and in all classes.

  2. How many UAC people will read this article do you think? You did meaningless work and I don’t understand how dare you criticize your school? You will be remembered as the WORST BETRAYAL.

    • Daaaang…..READ it….SLC now can check regularly about UAC and even my pals were able to check their stories through Chronicle’s work. This is why we have an independent student voice, buddy.

  3. The problem at UAC is not the voting system. It’s that if you are a favorite, you get all if the student positions even if you are not as qualified, and if you complain to the administration, your opinion matters more than the rest of the student body. Susan and Sandy won by a landslide for a reason. However, because a sad candidate complained to the administration, suddenly we had to revote and recieved an email about ignoring bad reputations.

  4. Reading through these comments it’s obvious that a lot of misconceptions have been developed about UAC due to perhaps a lack of transparency. As an undergraduate student of UAC I would like to clear up some of these misunderstandings.

    The first one I would like to clarify is that the campus, while located in Korea, conducts all official business and course activity in English. Most students at the campus are Korean and do use Korean as the primary method of personal communication, but all courses and campu4events are conducted in English.

    The second thing I’d like to address is that the student body administration of a University is designed to be maintained by the students themselves; faculty intervention is necessary in certain aspects and situations, but ultimately it is student governed and determined by their actions. We do not have nearly as many students vote in the elections as attend the campus (hence why the difference in votes can be so dramatically skewed).

    The last thing I’d like to address is correspondence and maintenance with the Salt Lake Campus. As it is a branch campus located within a separate country and time zone from the main campus, it is very challenging for UAC and SLC to keep constant communication about all issues without delay. Furthermore, it is very difficult to have the Salt Lake Campus assume responsibility for things such as this at UAC due to not having the ability to be fully aware and informed enough in order to make decisions for a secondary campus halfway across the world. Ambassadors from the Salt Lake Campus due visit on a semi regular schedule throughout the year, and assist in any matters that their aid is needed while also maintaining correspondence via email and other methods. It is impossible, however, for them to be as knowledgeable of a situation as the people who are actually there. That is why there is a stronger focus on building up an internal system at UAC to deal with complications such as this than to search for external help.

    I hope this clears up some of the confusion and misconceptions that have accumulated about UAC. The campus has only been around since 2014 and is expanding at a more rapid pace now then it ever has, so there will be obstacles as the campus works to improve and keep up with it’s rapid growth. I’m very sorry for any misunderstandings that may have occurred.

LEAVE A REPLY!

Please enter your comment!
Reader comments on dailyutahchronicle.com are the opinions of the writer, not the Daily Utah Chronicle or University of Utah Student Media. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned.

Please enter your name here