Signature requirement increased
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The Council on Student Elections Representation (CSER) that establishes the rules and regulations on new and upcoming Student Government Association (SGA) elections, stated the new rules for the 2017 election: that students running for president and vice president must acquire 300 signatures (150 each), the Student Member of the Board of Trustees need 250 and the senators at-large need 50.
“We changed a few things within the election regulations but I’m pretty sure one of the, if not the topic, of debate discussion, is probably going to be on the decision to increase the number of signature counts acquired for filling out an election packet,” said CSER committee member Joshua Defibaugh. “We figured that the responsibilities that the SGA president and the student members of the board of trustees and vice president, the responsibilities that they have really give consideration to the fact that we should have an increase in signature count.”
Previously the president, vice president and board of trustees were said to have 100 signatures and the senators at large 50.
SGA President, Dovile Svirupskaite said last year when she ran she thought it was to easy, and even suggested raising the signature amount even more.
“I’ll be transparent when it comes to signatures, last year what I did is I gave my signature packet to my 50-person lecture hall,” Svirupskaite said. “They literally signed it and it took me probably a day to do it. So, I personally feel that there should be more signatures, because I think it should be hard for someone who is very well connected on campus versus someone who is not. I think there should be a very level playing field. I think, especially for resident and vice president that is two people, I even think that it should be closer to 500 signatures.”
Student Tennant Union senator, Robby Barlow disagreed with having signatures all together for students trying to run for a position.
“I think signatures should be abolished because I think they’re undemocratic, because only one tenth of the student body participates in these elections. Nine-tenth thinks these are for resume builders, elitist snobs or have no idea we are even on this campus. I think that it’s time that we actually get these (signatures) a swift kick in the butt and open the floodgates to people who want to run. If you have the grades then we should just let you run, follow the CSER policy because honestly I think most of the student body doesn’t care.”
The legislative body passed the CSER rules and regulations document. The signatures were increased to 500 each for the president and vice president, 300 for the Board of Trustees and they kept the 50 signatures for senators at-large.
2017 SGA election packets are available today at 8 a.m. for pick-up in the Office of Student Activities. They will be due back to the Office of Student Activities March 10 at 4:30 p.m.
Currently, the two, Council on Administration, Graduation and Academic Standards (CAGAS), representatives are appointed for one academic year. SGA Bill 2016-2017.006, authored by John Kennealy, STU Senator, is stating that for the 2017- 2018 academic year one representative will be appointed for a two-year term, and another for one-year term. Every academic term after that, both representatives will be appointed for a two-year term.
“Like it says, every year we have turn over. CAGAS and CSAF (Council on Student Activity Funds) are very intense organizations,” said Student Senator and member of CAGAS John Kennealy. “It takes a lot to understand, CSAF is a subcommittee of ours, but it requires such knowledge. It would make since to add some sort of staggered left over.”
Kennealy said this would help CAGAS because SGA would still appoint one of the two every other year, yet still have knowledge of what is going on by keeping the other appointee.
“I support the bill and I think it is a really good idea, but my only concern would be that not ever student is a ‘John Kennealy’ kind of student and will come back to the committee every single year,” said IHC Senator Killian Tracey. “So, my only concern would be is that it is already difficult enough for our Chief of Staff, I know for this year and years past to get people to want to committee for that one year. So, making it as a two year commitment might make it more kind of daunting and maybe like ‘oh I kind to committee to that kind of thing. I do support that bill, but I think that is a concern.”
After the Speaker of the Senate, Andrew Mueller, stalled the debate due to time the bill was passed 17-13-0. Kennealy said that while the conflict between him and former CAGAS representatives Esmeralda Moreno and James Zerbonia in the fall of 2015 was a thought during the bill’s conception, it was not the primary factor.
SGA Bill of Resolution 2016- 2017.003 states that SGA is supporting the proposal of an increase in student fees per student, per credit hour, per semester of $10.95 starting for the Class of 2021. However, that next time they ask that the General Assembly be more involved with less confusion.
“It did cross my attention that the information wasn’t presented in a fantastic way (by the university administrators), and there meeting set up, well attempts to set up that fell though,” said Director of SGA Finance, Samir Almhiemid. “So, that kind of pilots, why the General Assembly especially in the allocations of the fees being increased. There was some member who felt as those the information was handled in a graceful way.”
After another stalled debate between the legislative body by Mueller, the bill was passed 15-12-3.