SGA outline new election process, bill passes with majority vote
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 18:10
After a motion was made by Student Trustee Ari Shroyer to revisit the previously tabled student elections process, senators passed a bill to determine the direct election of senators in a 12-6 majority rule vote at last Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting.
The bill was distributed and read aloud before a motion was made to ask technical questions and have open discussion regarding the legislation. The new process—taking effect this spring—allows 22 senators to be voted into the SGA by the student body at large.
During the first election, all of the senate seats will be open and available for students interested in running, however for the first semester 11 students will be elected for a one semester term in the spring, and 11 more brought in for a full term in the fall.
Only for the first election will senators serve for a single semester, every subsequent election will be for full, one-year terms.
“I think that a lot of this seems very silly. I understand that it was voted into, being before I came here. A lot of this seems to just go against what we’re able to do. It will slow down the process,” Senator Gerald Hoselton said. “So far, half the semester has already gone by and not much has happened, the committees seem to be in disarray as it is.”
The new election process was modeled off of the system the American government already uses. However, Hoselton said that by offering only one semester terms could cause a high turnover rate for senators who might feel that getting a shorter term invalidates their win.
“I think that’s kind of silly. Just because that’s the way our government may run, I don’t think that in every aspect we need to play government. We need to look at what’s convenient for us,” Hoselton said.
Senator Jessica Thiesen voiced her support for the bill, saying that time and again this issue has been brought up to the senate within the past two years only to be shot down. Thiesen said that an election process is more open and democratic compared to the current way senators are appointed.
She addressed the fact that some may feel it is a popularity contest, but regardless it is still a step forward.
“It’s ridiculous that we go to a social justice institution that doesn’t have senators that are democratically elected. It’s a joke. Any way you slice it, an election, an appointment, anything, it’s going to be a popularity contest,” Thiesen said. “As far as I’m concerned, I’d rather take my chances with the entire student body than a four-person panel.”
Thiesen and Senator David Muirhead both discussed how the student body as a whole had voted in favor of senator elections in last year’s referendum.
“If we don’t say yes to this, how are we going to tell students we actually represent them. If 95 percent of them say they want this and we say: ‘No, we don’t care what you want, we’re doing it our way,’ we cannot actually represent them,” said Muirhead. “If we don’t pass this, we are smacking all of our constituents in the face.”
Muirhead also pointed out that with the new election process of bringing only 11 senators in at a time that the students will be able to get better acquainted with the university and obtain a better understanding of what needs to be changed in order to accurately draft legislation.
According to the elections bill, any current student “in good academic standing” can run and must petition for 25 signatures before their application is verified by the SGA adviser. Once this is done, the potential candidate can be placed on the ballot. The top 22 candidates with the most votes will be seated.
The bill also highlights the guidelines surrounding an Elections Committee. The student trustee will act as the chair of the committee, which moderates the election process, hammers out details for campaigning and verifies the results.
“The idea is, we voted on this and went to the student body. They told us they wanted elections, it’s our duty as student government senators to enact the bill of the students. They told us they want this, they told us they want elections. One way or the other elections are happening and as far as I’m concerned this is the most fair way to do it,” Thiesen said.
This new process will effectively take place this spring, electing a new executive board and senators for fall 2013.
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