Semper Fidelity

An overwhelming election victory

By H. Jay Burns

Semper Fidelity How does a lowly first-year law student cruise to the presidency of Michigan Law School

Jay Surdukowski for president.

Student Senate?

A little humility, a little humor, a lot of political savvy — tactics familiar to anyone who remembers how Jay Surdukowski ’02 ran the Representative Assembly during his Bates days.

Surdukowski pulled down 59 percent of the Michigan Law student vote in a three-way senate election that saw vitriolic debates over big issues (affirmative action, faculty hiring) and small ones (drinkers’ rights). “Fortunately I have stayed above the nastiness,” he said prior to the election.

Surdukowski, whose achievement as a 1L senate president is rare, if not unique, was the only candidate to use a campaign tactic familiar at Bates: humorous, pop-culture posters (his posters parodied High Fidelity, Fight Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ). In sort of a Carly Simon, “where-you-should-be-allthe- time” moment, Surdukowski left the U.S. in June for The Hague for his summer job at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in the United Nations Office of the Prosecutor (the office handling the Slobodan Milosevic war-crimes trial).

He was scheduled to arrive just as the former Yugoslavia leader was to begin his defense. “It’s perhaps the most significant trial of a world leader since Nuremberg,” Surdukowski says.