In an e-mail to the Princeton Committee on Palestine Listserv, Dylan Ackerman ’14, a candidate for USG class senator, promoted his candidacy as an opportunity to advance the organization’s agenda, a talking point he did not mention in his official campaign materials. Ackerman wrote that his candidacy is “a great opportunity for us as a club, to keep such issues on the table even if the petition/referendum process fails," referring to the PCP-organized referendum calling for Dining Services to provide an alternative to Sabra Hummus. The referendum will appear on the same ballot as the Senate elections.
Upon learning that his e-mail had circulated outside PCP, Ackerman sent an e-mail to The Daily Princetonian seeking to clarify words that he says were misconstrued. Ackerman said he wanted to explain to PCP members that he wasn’t helping with the petition process because he was too busy with his own campaign. He said he would not bring up pro-Palestinian or other political issues in the Senate, but wanted to clarify his position if further action on a failed boycott were to come up.
Below are parts of both e-mails:
Nov. 15 e-mail to PCP Listserv:
"Unfortunately I have not met most of you, as most of our business with PCP is done via e-mail, but I am running to be the Freshmen Class (2014) Senator. I consider this a great opportunity for us as a club, to keep such issues on the table even if the petition/referendum process fails. If you're a freshmen, I hope that you will vote for me, and I hope everyone else can spread the word about my candidacy to other people that they know around campus. I feel I have some very good ideas that I can bring to USG, both involving the work PCP has been doing and elsewhere."
Nov. 19 e-mail to The Daily Princetonian:
"It has been brought to my attention that an e-mail I sent to a campus organization I am involved with, the Princeton Committee on Palestine, has been forward to your office and others on campus, and has caused a fair amount of controversy. I ask that before you write about anything said in it, that you will be willing to hear my side of the story as I attempt to clarify some of my words that I feel were misconstrued.
First, I would like to clarify the intent of my e-mail. PCP operates mostly through online communication, and I do not know the vast majority of its members. My e-mail was intended to alert people likely to vote for me of my candidacy. I understand that some of my words can be misinterpreted as to assume that I would further push a failed Sabra boycott in the Senate. This was not my attention and is in no way what I intend to do if elected. First, I wanted to explain to the other members of PCP why I was not helping with the petition process, as I was simply too busy with my own campaign. Secondly, I wanted the other members of PCP to understand that in light of such an issue coming to the Senate, what opinion I would hold. I do not, however, have any attention of bring such issues to USG discussions.
Secondly, my support of the petition was not in order to boycott Israel. I am one of several members who advocated changing the wording of the petition from a boycott to the desire for an alternative brand. I do not oppose the nation of Israel. I simply feel that many people have overlooked human rights abuses carried out by one particular brigade. My principle reason in supporting the petition was to raise awareness about human rights abuses, educate the students about the situation in Israel, and help foster a discussion on campus about that situation.
Third, I am not running for USG Senate as any sort of political candidate. My USG platform and my reasons for running only concern matters on the Princeton campus and the immediate surrounding area. USG’s purpose is to represent the students; I believe completely that it should never be used as a vehicle for outside political movements. As mentioned above, I have no intention of bringing up Pro-Palestinian issues, or any other political issues if elected.
Lastly, I do not agree that my association with any on campus organization can or does demonstrate how I will operate if elected Senator. Other candidates running are members of Tigers for Israel, Campus Democrats, Princeton Faith and Action, and other organizations that could potentially endorse USG petitions as well. Simply being a member of such an organization does not mean that you support all of there actions now in the past."