Op-ed submission: The proof is in the pudding, Mia Hamernik is no saint

Tyrin Truong | SU Senator

I had never considered writing an op-ed for Student Life. Until now. This past Student Union election was climactic to say the very least: A Student Life article exposing scandal, candidates working together to bring down another candidate, election disqualifications and Constitutional Council hearings. But of all the people in the spotlight, one person managed to evade the consequences after triggering the entire situation.

Let me start by strongly condemning Gregg Adams. I vehemently abhor his actions, and this article shall be seen in no way as a condoning or justification of those actions. My job today is to dispel the myth that Mia Hamernik champions the values she claims and to shed light on her true motives by walking you through how this situation began to unfold from some months ago up until now.

On May 3, 2017, Hamernik created a fake male account, and one would assume that after the many stigmas already facing marginalized communities that she would introduce him as a generic white male. Wrong. She chose to introduce him as a gay, Latino, “versatile bottom” by the alias of James Santos and, in doing so, assumed an untrue identity. This is extremely ironic being that she was endorsed by the WashU Pride Alliance and the Association of Latin American Students. Does she really champion these groups and their ideals?

Hamernik then proceeded to use that fake account to obtain the infamous Gregg Adams “smash list” from April 2017 and expose it to the girls’ chat. Drama and outlash ensued as one would expect, and Adams was ultimately shamed by his peers. One would assume that the situation had been buried. Wrong again. Fast forward to November, and we’re in the weeks following the article. Hamernik not only exposed Adams again but went to great lengths to do it.

She released the screenshots and actively encouraged others to do the same, and that is where the recent StudLife article comes into play. Now, don’t get me wrong, Adams deserved to be exposed, and some may argue that he should have expected it, by posting it in a public group chat, but Hamernik exposed him for the wrong reasons, and justice wasn’t one of them. If Hamernik genuinely cared, she would have solicited these actions long before the election. She clearly held out until it could have the most impact. She strategically planned this election fiasco; That’s the scary part. She actively encouraged other students to send screenshots to Student Life. Most people had already known about the list; therefore, it was the voters’ place to decide if he was worthy of their vote, not hers. What Adams did was wrong by many standards, but she had no mercy and preceded to pursue a ‘last resort’ option. She was clearly targeting Adams because he wasn’t the only one contributing to the “smash list.” Several others contributed to the discussion, but Hamernik refused to acknowledge them.

As a senator, I plan to strengthen campaign rules by proposing clearer and stricter solutions to avoid another situation of this caliber. The only beneficiaries of polarized college elections are the perpetrators. I also plan to discuss the implementation of a commission before the upcoming spring election with the commissioner.

College elections have no business being this polarized and if it isn’t stopped, this will have resounding ramifications. If Hamernik went this far for a position with 13 seats as a seemingly popular candidate, imagine what she will do later down the line for an executive position.

This is where Constitutional Council comes into play. After the election commissioner, Steven Kish, received news of Hamernik’s actions, he disqualified her from the Senate race. Hamernik then went to Constitutional Council to appeal the decision and won based on technicalities within the rule itself. The seat that she was disqualified from (and ultimately reinstated to) deserved to have been filled by someone with better morals and character.

In trying to expose someone else, Hamernik exposed her true character. Hamernik couldn’t care less about who or what ideas Adams was offending, only about exploiting his inappropriate behavior for her personal gain. Is this what we want from our student leaders?

This article is in no way meant as an attack on Hamernik but as a way to hold her accountable. This is a fulfillment of the promise I gave to my voters. I ran on a mantra of “accountability we can believe in,” and Hamernik is not exempt.

Editor’s Note: Mia Hamernik did not send screenshots to Student Life.