Bylaw changes pass, restrict campaigning

A bill amending the bylaws for the Spring 2003 SGA elections passed by a vote of 24-6-4, despite advice from Campus Life Director Wanda Anderson that SGA did not have jurisdiction for some of the regulations.

The original bill, presented by Monique Manfra, alternate student trustee, was met with disagreement and was voted down and amended twice before it was voted on again and passed.

The only changes made were that “no candidate may use campus computer labs to make copies for campaigning purposes,” and “no candidate may have any campaigning materials visible inside the Brower Student Center, whether worn or posted, during election days.”

New restrictions regarding postings and campaigning in the student center were included in the bylaws.

Manfra said the purpose of the new bylaws were to make sure elections this year would be “fair to all candidates.”

One of the original proposed changes was the rule that no student campaigning could “hang any posters or signs on any property in the Brower Student Center, which includes offices, walls, windows, etc.”

Members had a problem with this new regulation, suggesting that some students campaigning may have support from a particular organization that has office space within the student center.

Anderson especially disagreed with these proposed changes, since it is the right of an organization to choose who they support, and therefore it is their right to post campaign material within their designated space. She said that these amendments are violations since SGA has no authority over people’s personal office space.

Diana Deckman, senator of science, questioned whether SGA could override the campus life rules with their own regulations.

President Chris Portera said that even if these amendments were passed in a bill, they would most likely be unenforceable rules.

Anderson said that if the SGA wanted to charge anyone for violating this bylaw, it would have to go through an appeal. However, since Anderson is SGA adviser and sits on the appeals board, the charge would most likely not go forward since it could not be enforced due to the overriding Campus Life policy.

Despite Anderson’s warnings and concerns from members, SGA continued to debate and vote on this bill.

Once the changes were approved in the bill, the election packet was then voted on and approved by a vote of 22-5-2.

The interest sessions for SGA elections will be held over the next week.