Student Council candidates share concerns over ripped down posters


Credit: Courtesy of Charmaine Guo

Student Council candidate Charmaine Guo holds the remnants of her own poster and the poster of Student Council candidates Michael Wightman and Abby Wrentmore. These posters, along with others around the school, were allegedly ripped down before the Student Council elections.

Nadya Chase and Selena Liu

On Friday, May 12, Student Council candidates were given permission to put up campaign posters around Wayland High School. After a few days, concerns began to arise about campaign posters being ripped down, either by students, other candidates or WHS faculty.

Multiple candidates voiced that their own posters and the posters of their fellow candidates were being removed for unknown reasons. According to Student Council Secretary candidate Charmaine Guo, one of her posters was replaced by another candidate’s poster, and another poster was removed entirely.

“I was mainly very confused and a bit in disbelief,” Guo said. “I did not expect these actions from WHS students.”

Other Student Council candidates also experienced their posters being ripped down, relocated or demolished. Elected Student Council Secretary Jack Ali explained that one of his posters was found in a urinal a few days before the election.

“I just thought it was kind of funny to be honest,” Ali said. “I think that any publicity and having people talk about you can be good.”

Some candidates reported this behavior to the Student Council advisers in hopes of getting it to stop. However, without knowing who was ripping down the posters, the Student Council advisers were limited in what they could do to prevent further posters from being ripped down.

“There’s only so much that we can do to monitor or regulate student behavior,” Student Council Co-Advisor Charlie Keene said. “While we find it upsetting that people would do that sort of thing, it’s too difficult to try to make sure that everyone is following the decorum we would expect for an election and being respectful of other people’s materials, especially because a lot of the candidates spent money, resources and time on creating [posters].”

Student Supervisor Paul Bonfiglio recalled that while patrolling the halls during the weeks before the election, he never caught anyone taking down posters. However, he did find the remnants of some posters on walls or on the ground, but was unsure of what happened to them. Bongilfio said he only took down one Student Council candidate poster because there had been four of the same posters on one door.

“I felt like there were too many posters in one place [which created] an equity problem where [candidates] were trying to box out space,” Bonfiglio said. “[WHS faculty] certainly never want to be trying to influence the outcome of the election, but also four posters on one door is too many.”

Some candidates and students believed that this issue affected the results of the election. However, others, like Ali, Bonfiglio and Guo, believed that it did not have a tangible impact.

“I don’t think [people ripping down candidate posters] impacted election results to a great extent,” Guo said. “There were already other outside factors in play that had a greater influence.”

Ultimately, Keene believes that the motive for ripping down posters was not malicious, and was actually a misguided attempt by supporters of certain candidates who believed that it was a way to show their support.

“I find it unlikely and I do not want to believe that candidates running for leadership positions in student government would be interested in trying to affect the election in unfair or malicious ways,” Keene said. “My guess is that students who engaged in that behavior thought that what they were doing was a good way to support the candidates that they were in favor of.”