SGA undecided on amendment that would require informing student body of election qualifications


Image: Tyler King

The Student Government Association (SGA) heard a proposal for a bylaw amendment March 25 that would require the Public Relations & Elections Committee (PRE) to advertise election qualifications to students outside of the Senate.

Freshman Sen. Harrison Ivins proposed the amendment after only one ticket emerged for 2019-2020 president and vice president, with the only candidates currently serving on SGA. Adam Penland, president, is running for re-election with Michaela Jones, junior senator and academic affairs committee chair, as vice president.

Ivins said the issue arose because SGA did not share information about the March 13 qualifications meeting — required for potential candidates — with the student body.

“What we ran into this time is that it wasn’t properly advertised, and people weren’t aware of when they needed to run,” Ivins said. “SGA constitutionally could hold an election without telling anybody about it, which … shouldn’t be possible.”

He said SGA did not make any social media posts, send any emails or give the student body any official notice of this year’s qualifications meeting outside of mentioning it in Senate meetings.

In response, his amendment would solidify the role of PRE in promoting qualifications.

“This amendment is being proposed to require advertising of SGA qualifications so that the student body is aware of when the elections are and how they can sign up,” Ivins said. “This is to avoid some of the conflicts that we’ve run into in the past, especially in this year’s SGA presidential elections, to make sure that future students are aware of when they need to sign up.”

Under Ivins’ amendment, PRE would begin advertising qualifications as early as two weeks in advance from at least two SGA social media accounts.

Senior Sen. Hayes Rule said that while he was not opposed to the amendment, he felt the response from SGA was too immediate.

“There’s not a whole lot of negatives to it, but at the same time, I think by doing this, it sets a little bit of a precedent of reacting to things and having to change our Constitution immediately after something happens, which I think in this case, it’s a little bit of an anomaly,” Rule said. “I’d like to try to keep the Constitution as interpretable as possible and not try to have a bunch of weird, strict rules.”

Ivins said that the amendment was a reaction, but a necessary one.

“It was in a way a reaction to what was going on, because it’s a reach-out to the student body because there are a lot of students who are upset about the situation,” he said. “This is us showing them that we don’t want this to happen again and we’re going to make sure that it doesn’t.”

Senior Sen. Jabril Edmondson motioned to table a vote on the amendment to allow more time to consider it. There were no objections.

The amendment will be back on the docket Monday.

In his report, Penland said that elections for student of the year and teacher of the year will take place March 26 and 27.

He said SGA will host the qualifications meeting for class senators and senators-at-large April 3, and those elections will be held April 9 and 10.