Over the past week, shockwaves have rippled across campus, prompted by the revelation that Wellesley’s Russian Department may be exerting undue influence on the upcoming College Government (CG) Cabinet election.
The growing list of allegations includes catered Election Committee (EC) luncheons funded, according to SOAC records, by 23-minute old shell company ‘Zashchita Luzhina Enterprises,’ based formally in Green Hall but with a PO Box in Novosibirsk, as well as speculation that published documents depicting the members of the EC might have been doctored so as not to include the unusual four prominent modern Russian literary scholars also serving on the committee.
Charges about the allegiances of the EC have eclipsed a growing atmosphere of unrest regarding electoral proceedings on Wellesley’s campus, superseding questions of transparency, appointment protocol for the committee and even overarching debates on campus matters from administrative hiring practices to funding distribution.
“I don’t know, honestly,” explained political science student Catherine Hefele ’19, who attended the candidate crawl. “There’s definitely a lot to think about when it comes to the way we do things on campus. I was here for the scandals of the last two years, and I was looking forward to seeing explicitly how we as a campus would address those issues. The inconsistent enforcement of spam regulations and ballot status, how candidates’ socioeconomic status affects their ability to campaign or even to run in the first place…”
The interview abruptly ended as Hefele received a text regarding the latest development on the Russian Department .
“Oh my God, there’s literally three different middle-aged guys named Alexei attending all the EC meetings. How are they all named Alexei? That almost seems lazy. What were we talking about again? Socio… income… sorry, I need to go tweet about this,” Hefele announced, concluding the exchange.
Fixation on the ongoing investigation has become a running theme across campus, reaching a fever pitch as Twitter-verified activists, who had previously focused their campaigns on crumbling dorm infrastructure, student mental health service deficits and equity in everything from textbook access to off-campus transportation, have instead taken up the mantle of commentators on the issue of the day: could Russian-Computer Science double majors potentially influence voting outcomes through Banner-hosted bots and massive amounts of Wellesley Memes for Grade Deflated Feminist Teens propaganda?
When approached for comment, an administrator overseeing the EC, who wished to remain anonymous, soundly rejected any evidence of the committee’s disproportionate influence in the mechanics of Wellesley’s electoral process.
“Look,” the college executive explained. “This Russian stuff has been a tremendous distraction from addressing real institutional issues that actively affect the electorate. Of course, if it at any point stops being a distraction, we have another one ready—campus-wide emails being sent in violation of SPEC’s spam policy. Rest assured, we’re dedicating all available resources to… resolving… these investigations: Department of Russian collusion, email violations and absolutely nothing else. Успокойся, приятель.”