Sociology chairman Irving Zeitlin has reversed his decision to nullify undergraduate elections to the department's assembly.
In a letter to assembly members, Zeitlin states that an investigation showed that while a "technical irregularity" had occurred, there had been "no violations of the constitution in the actual procedures of the elections committee."
Earlier, Zeitlin had charged that "fundamental violations of constitutional and democratic procedures" had occurred during the elections. He declared the elections void because two students running for office had assisted the elections committee, of which they were not members, in holding the elections.
However, the students involved, Bob Storey and Lorne Richmond, stated that they had given their services as a favour to the committee, and that no conflict was involved in their own election, since they were both acclaimed. Their statement was borne out by the chairman of the committee, professor Ralph Beals.
Zeitlin now accepts this version. He acknowledges that the actions had been "in good faith and with the approval of the elections committee chairman", and that the elections "were in fact legitimate and in accordance with the constitution."
In what may be construed as a reply to charges that his decision was politically motivated, directed at preventing an effective student say in the department, Zeitlin pledges in the letter that "no important business will fail to receive attention as a result of this delay. If necessary, more than the requisite number of assembly meetings will be scheduled to compensate for the loss of time."
The assembly has not met since last February.
Bob Storey, one of the students implicated in Zeitlin's original charges, welcomed the reversal as a "good decision." He added, however, that the decision "should have been made in the first place." If Zeitlin had checked the facts before acting, he said, the controversy need never have occurred.
With the question of the elections settled, the first meeting of the assembly has been scheduled for Monday.
Students especially look forward to the meeting with great interest, for one of the topics on the agenda is the question of the implementation of a motion, passed last February, calling for staff-student parity on the staffing committee. If the motion is put in effect, the sociology department would become the first to implement this long-time ambition of student activists.