SGA votes down bill for campaign spending cap

A bill to cap spending on campaigns in the Student Government Association (SGA) was voted down 15-28-1 at last Wednesday’s meeting.

The Campaign Finance Reform bill, sponsored by senator-at-large Ravi Kaneriva was intended to cap spending for campaigns “to help make the election system more fair and to control for the difference of candidates’ socio-economic backgrounds.”

The bill would have required SGA members to submit receipts of all purchases made for their campaigns to a Campaign Accounts Commission that would monitor spending and make the figures public. Kaneriya explained that the bill was intended to “make SGA more accessible to people” and that he “want(s) to make sure people don’t have to not run in elections because they can’t afford them.”

Shawn Collins, sophomore class vice president, voted against the bill. “It would be too tough to keep track of,” he said.

“It had a good moral to it, but it didn’t make sense the way it was written. I think that if Ravi revised it, it would be something that I would vote for.”

Matt Civiletti, vice president of administration and finance, offered a different perspective. “It’s not fair that some people have $1,000 or more to spend while others are pretty much broke,” he said.

“It makes the election process grossly unfair and elitist. Mixing money and politics is never a good thing, anyway.”

Joanna Holguin, senator-at-large, said she thinks the bill would benefit SGA by attracting members who don’t have hundreds of dollars to invest on a campaign.

“I felt that this bill was a closer step to solving these kinds of problems,” she said.

Mollie Seiferas, vice president of student services, explained the details of a housing meeting with the office of Residential and Community Development. She reported that the office assistants and hall security workers would retain their priority housing and sophomores would be able to squat under certain circumstances.

Sophomores can only squat if they make the lottery cut-off and are not allowed to pull in roommates. If a house becomes one of the three wellness houses or changes genders, then squatting is not allowed.

The possibility of allowing squatting in Eickhoff Hall has yet to be decided.

There will also be more rooms available next year in Townhouses West because there will only be a housing advisor in every other house, instead of in each house as it was set up this year.

A meeting on March 2, held by Gretchen Reyes-Cseplo, acting director of Residential and Community Development, will address any other housing questions.

SGA also officially recognized three more on-campus organizations: The Italian-American Bocce Ball Club of TCNJ, Students for Academic Freedom and the Bod Squad.

Students for Academic Freedom is a club that will “allow the college campus to speak out” when students have differing opinions and are censored or penalized for them, according to Sunni Minorics, who spoke on behalf of the group.

The Bod Squad was a group started three years ago to promote a positive body image raise awareness of eating disorders. Anthony Milici, president, explained the need for the organization with statistics, citing that “42 percent of children between first and third grade wish they were thin.”