SO Officers Resign Over Election Disagreement


Michelle Lee, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, April 28, three Student Organization officers stepped down from their positions due to a disagreement with the THS administration on this year’s election rules. Former SO President Aaron Gordon (’20), former SO treasurer Emma Ziessler (’20), and former Senior Board of Education representative Derek Kim (’20) wrote a resignation letter to address their reasons for resigning. 

One difference between this year’s (2020-2021) election and those of previous years was that no candidates’ meeting took place after candidate sign-ups were due to clarify any election rules and regulations. In their resignation letter, the former officers recognized that they took full responsibility for what they believed to be a flawed election. “We hold ourselves responsible for the shortcomings of clarity within this year’s election and believe our decision to not hold a candidates’ meeting this year has resulted in confusion on the candidates’ behalf.”

According to the third rule that was sent out in an election briefing email to the Tenafly students, “A candidate cannot run for office on a ticket with another candidate. There should be no implication that candidates are running together for their respective offices.” Because it was determined by the administration that they had broken this rule, multiple class office candidates were disqualified. In their resignation letter, the former officers wrote that they “felt that it was unreasonable and unjustified to disqualify candidates for our own missteps” and that when the candidates were disqualified, “[the former officers’] voices were no longer taken into consideration by the administration, and it is for this reason that [they] have chosen to resign from [their]  respective positions.”

Gordon said that the most frustrating aspect of this situation was that he heard the news of disqualification from the candidates themselves. “I, along with my fellow officers, spent days asking for evidence against these candidates, with no response whatsoever,” Gordon said. “We spent days discussing the issue and had asked multiple times for a meeting to discuss it before a decision was made. Our questions remained unanswered, and no meeting was held. The candidates were simply disqualified.”

Ziessler agreed that ultimately the lack of communication with the administration is what caused them to make their decision. “The reason the SO was created was to allow for meaningful discussion between representatives of the student body and the administration,” Ziessler said. “It was disappointing when that was no longer the case.”

Mr. Morrison, Tenafly High School’s principal, has expressed his disappointment with the former officers. “I felt like their resignation wasn’t the proper course of action.” He felt that it was not right for them to resign just because they did not agree and made it clear that Mr. Rendell had spoken to the former officers multiple times on the issue. Morrison has also disagreed with the statement that “As a whole, we feel that the opinions of the officers were no longer taken into consideration and that an opportunity for meaningful discussion between the representing officers and the administration prior to a decision being made no longer existed,” which was included in the resignation letter. He expressed that he has always felt that he has always been open to listening to the opinions of the student body and has taken them into consideration. In this specific situation, he has simply disagreed with them, not ignored them. Mr. Morrison also emphasized that his job is to merely enforce the rules in whatever way he thinks is fair, not create them. 

The former officers concluded their letter by acknowledging that they did not come to their decision lightly. “We are passionate about our roles of leadership and take pride in serving the student body, but we believe that the manner in which decisions were made in this election process undermines the intended purpose of the Student Organization.” In their last line, they included the quote “Say what I want, Do what I want… I rather deal with consequences than live in fear” by 21 Savage.

A day after the former officers formally announced their resignation, they had a brief meeting with Mr. Morrison to agree to disagree.

On May 4, the results of the 2020-2021 elections were released. The results are as follow:

Class of 2021, Senior Class

President: Rebecca Parish

VP: Michelle Lee

Secretary: Jake Friedman

Treasurer: Frank Kim


Class of 2022, Junior Class

President: Lucy Harper

VP: Misora Ito

Secretary: Matthew Ngai

Treasurer: Bianca Thompson


Class of 2023, Sophomore Class

President: Jacquline Kim

VP: Daria Levy

Secretary: Jonathan Levy

Treasurer: Elijah Brooks


2020-2021 SO Officers

President: Grace Lee or Dylan Weiss

VP: Jonathan Tenenbaum

Secretary: Luke Han

Treasurer: Jonathan Glatzer

Senior Board of Ed. Rep: Kira Baltaytis

Junior Board of Ed. Rep: Jessica Lee


The results of the runoff between Grace Lee (‘22) and Dylan Weiss (‘22) for SO President will be released later this month.