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SGA campaigning starts today; rule change eyed

 Discussion during Monday night’s SGA meeting in the UC Magnolia Room was dominated by the upcoming SGA elections, which will be held on April 19 and 20.

 Up for grabs in these elections are 40 seats, as well as the seats of the executive committee – the president, the vice president, the secretary and the comptroller.

 SGA Sgt. at Arms Rob Thrower, who is this year’s Election Commissioner, spoke to the SGA about the upcoming elections, seats available and important dates.

 Thrower made it a point to mention that campaigning begins today at 7 a.m.

 “The spring SGA elections will be used to fill senate seats 11 through 50 and the executive branch,” Thrower said.

 He also announced a few other dates for the elections, such as a debate, which is set for April 17 in Powell Hall.

 “That’s where we hope it’s going to be,” Thrower said.

 In addition, the results for this year’s election will be announced on April 23 at 8 p.m.

 The SGA also opened up the possibility of a referendum on smoking being put on the ballot for the upcoming election, which is dependent on passage from the SGA Senate.

 “We’ve discussed a no-smoking policy around campus with a lot of detail,” Derika Powers, SGA vice-president, said.

 She asked whether anyone in SGA had written legislation to that effect.

 Senator Candace Brown was called on and explained the status on that legislation.

 “It’s taken me a while because I really don’t know,” Brown said. “I asked Graham [Davis] about that the other day, so I have to send it to Senator [Ryan] Baerwalde to have him look over it.”

 Powers said that if the legislation passes the Senate, it would then have to go in front of the entire student body in the next SGA elections.

 In an attempt to curb some of the chaos that occurred during last year’s elections, an amendment was presented that would clear candidates of responsibility for what voters did with campaigning materials.

 In 2011, candidates were disqualified and a huge controversy developed over illegal campaigning,

 “Essentially, what this is saying, is that, for example, Candidate A sells t-shirts and someone who is not affiliated with the campaign wears this shirt on the day of the election,” Baerwalde said. “Candidate A will not be held responsible for that person. I know this caused a bit of trouble last year, as we had a vice presidential candidate actually disqualified because people she had sold shirts to wore them on the day of the election.”

Baerwalde also said that the candidate was held responsible by the current bylaws.

“Also, hopefully this would never happen, and our elections should never get this serious, but also [this potential amendment] prevents another candidate getting four or five of his friends buying a bunch of t-shirts from their opponent, and then wearing them all on election day,” he said. “All of a sudden, that candidate that had nothing to do with this is disqualified for something their opponent was actually doing, so essentially, this is just saving a lot of people a lot of headaches, and this is simplifying a lot of our current election rules.”

The amendment will be reviewed by Dean Russ Mast before it will be released, and is expected to be reworded by the SGA.

SGA meets every Monday night in the UC’s Magnolia Room at 8 p.m. The meetings are open to all students.

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