SU adjusts candidate standards, rules before spring election

Jessica Bigley | Contributing Reporter

Student Union revised election rules to raise candidate conduct and academic standards, while also working to remove ambiguity from the campaign rulebook.

Freshman Steven Kish, SU’s former election commissioner, created an election rules committee in the fall to examine concerns regarding SU election processes. One of Kish’s priorities with implementing the election rules committee was to make clarifications in standards of campaign rule number 11, which disqualifies candidates if they commit any “fraudulent activities” to discredit other candidates, or if they commit any action which could “circumvent the spirit of the election.”

“When there was the constitutional issue, if certain candidates needed to be eliminated from the campaign, the SU Constitutional Council referred to that rule,” senior Keaton Schifer, the newly appointed election commissioner, said. “And part of the issue is that they saw the rule as vague.”

According to Kish and Schifer, more conversation including the student body needs to happen surrounding rule 11, with a specific discussion of whether candidates should be allowed to campaign negatively about other candidates.

A closer look at rule 11 will be Schifer’s first priority after the spring Student Union election.

“Keaton and the rest of the election commission have definitely been left with the tools to execute on a really good election cycle coming up and hopefully kick off those conversations that we mentioned pertaining to campaign rule number 11,” Kish said.

The most immediate action that was taken in regard to election changes were student calls for standards surrounding the candidate’s conduct. A vote passed by two-thirds of the Senate and Treasury prohibited students who have University violations relating to violence from running for office until their sanctions have been met.

According to sophomore and Budget Committee Chair Shelly Gupta, along with a clean record, making sure SU members are maintaining a good GPA is a big part of the conduct checks.

“I think you should have a clean record and you should maintain a certain GPA and, if not, get help while you’re in office so you’re representing the students who voted for you,” Gupta said. “They should be voting for candidates who are good, dependable people.”