By: Norman Yallen
Today, as I’m sure you know, there were Student Council elections. All of the races were closely contested, none more so than the Presidential race between Kevin Jacobs and Zac Kauffman. After both gave phenomenal speeches it was very unclear who would win this tight race. It was without a doubt the most excitement and debate surrounding Student Council since I started at the school. As the ballots came around hundreds of people eagerly checked off Jacobs and Kauffman on their ballots, after carefully considering their decision. Then, at around 2 in the afternoon, CHAT took that decision away from us. Zac was informed that because of a campaign video he posted online, he was being disqualified as a candidate.
This campaign video was a 14 second parody of a scene from the movie Mean Girls. In the movie it is Coach Carr, a gym teacher teaching sexual education, whose ignorance is so over the top it is obviously meant as a joke. So Zac as a video dubbed his voice over the teacher’s voice. In the original Coach Carr says, “Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant. And die. Don’t have sex in the missionary position, don’t have sex standing up, just don’t do it, OK? Promise? OK, now everybody take some rubbers.” In Zac’s he says, “If you don’t vote Zac Kauffman, you will get pregnant. And die. Vote Zac Kauffman in the missionary position; vote Zac Kauffman standing up; just vote Zac Kauffman. Now everybody take some rubbers, and vote Zac Kauffman.” Now, if you don’t get that this is an obvious joke, perhaps you should be working in the CHAT administration.
CHAT disqualified Zac’s candidacy because this video was offensive. Who did it offend dumb gym teachers? It is a clip from a movie I would say 80% of CHAT students have seen. As a matter of fact, it was shown on the bus to New York on the American History trip. A member of the administration was on that bus. So it seems as though there is a double standard to when a movie can be shown.
The obvious explanation for this video causing a disqualification is the religious reason. After all, some must be wondering, doesn’t mentioning sex and condoms in a campaign video violate the principles of a Jewish school? My answer is that CHAT is a Community school, meaning that all perspectives from around the Jewish community are welcomed. While Orthodox circles may be against the mention of condoms and sexuality, I know many other Jewish people are in favour of sexual education. Too often CHAT takes Community to simply mean they have to take the most orthodox and extreme position. In accommodating this position, they suspend a candidate for a video that is so obviously a joke, and was not intended to offend anyone.
To take Zac out of the race after he made his speech is simply unacceptable. He already poured his heart into his campaign and this served to sucker punch him after he completed all of his campaign efforts. Could they not have asked him to take it down as opposed to outright disqualifying him? I have no doubt that they could.
I know Zac Kauffman, in this video and in his speech; his primary intention is to make you laugh not to offend you. In banning someone for having a sense of humour, CHAT has gone too far. This is not meant as a repudiation of Kevin Jacobs, who ran a great campaign and had a stellar speech. It is meant as a condemnation of CHAT’s recent trend of trying to censor jokes and ideas they don’t like. If this current pace keeps up, CHAT will have no one with viable ideas willing to run. CHAT should just have the candidates read a script he wrote and see who deviates the least. Perhaps the CHAT administration should just pick the President they want, since that is exactly what they did today.