With the end of Student Senate terms approaching, there is still one task left on the agenda. Student body officer elections.
On Monday junior management and administration major Ethan Zentz was elected to the election sub-committee chair during senate’s general assembly. Over the next month, he and his committee will work together to facilitate the election process.
“I think Ethan was an excellent pick,” Student Body President Tricia Anklan said. “He already has meeting dates planned, rooms reserved and a timeline made.”
To begin the process, there will be an informational meeting at 7 p.m., Feb. 28 in meeting room six of the student center. This is an opportunity for all students interested in running for the positions of president, vice president, treasurer or secretary to learn more about elections and procedures, said Zentz.
“Anyone can run for office,” Zentz said. “You don’t need any experience or involvement with Student Senate, but it will help.”
In order to qualify as a ticketed candidate, students must complete a petition requiring 150 signatures from members of the student body in support of the candidate. To appear on the ballot, students must turn in their petition at the mandatory candidate meeting on March 7.
“Candidates should be enthusiastic and able to move students,” Zentz said. “Last year we had a record number of votes and that was because the candidates really played off each other.”
If students are unable to complete the petition by March 7, students are still able to run as a write-in on the ballot.
“I hope that a lot of candidates run and that the student body cares,” Zentz said. “[The election] determines who represents them and who guides and leads Student Senate. It also determines the changes made next year.”
Those interested in running for an SBO position will also need to be conscious of their actions during campaigning, said Zach Lattmann, the Internal Affairs Chair on senate.
Last week, senate approved of the several provisions. Constitution changes defining offenses and consequences of poor candidate conduct were approved.
“The biggest change is that there are now specific consequences for specific offenses,” said Lattmann. “Those did not exist before we went through this process.”
Within Article X of the Student Senate Constitution, it is stated that candidates can receive major and minor offenses depending on the severity of the offense.
A major offense is defined as “Any action in which any candidate or campaign actively attempts to defame or damage an opponent’s reputation or character.” Those convicted of a distributing false information about opposing candidates are required to pay a $50 fine.
As stated in the constitution, a minor offense is “Any deliberate action that disrupts or hinders an opponent’s campaign.” Minor offenses can include vandalizing or tearing down opponent’s flyers or campaign materials. For each minor offense, convicted candidates will be fined $20.
“When the constitution was originally written, they deferred to the [elections subcommittee] to determine offenses and the consequences of them,” said Lattmann. “In practice it is easy for a sub-committee chairman to get cold feet and not handle or convict anyone [. . . ] It needed to get done.”
If a candidate is convicted of a major offense and receives another major or minor offense, that can be grounds for dismissal from elections.
“The constitution changes are going to benefit candidates and ensure there will be a clean and fair elections,” Anklan said. “They will also make it easier for senate to handle some situations.”
Those who cannot make the informational meeting on Feb. 28, but would like to qualify as a ticketed candidate, can access a petition on the Student Senate website. Candidates can begin to campaign on March 19 and elections will take place April 2 – 3.