Student Government works to eliminate loopholes to end improper campaigning


    The House of Student Representatives plans to revise the SGA election code this semester after the controversy surrounding last semester’s election.

    “The entire code will be analyzed line by line and unclear areas will be rewritten by the Elections and Regulations Committee,” said Whitney Grey, committee chairwoman.

    In last semester’s elections, four candidates were accused of various campaign violations.

    President Jay Zeidman was accused of using illegal campaign materials or methods and improper distributing or posting of campaign materials.

    Blake Eason, presidential runner-up, was accused of campaigning before the beginning of the formal campaign and using university publications for campaigning. He said he also received another violation for going door-to-door in residence halls on Election Day encouraging people to vote, although not specifically for him.

    The result was a recall election for president, which narrowed the four-candidate field down to Zeidman and Eason, with Zeidman winning by a narrow margin in the runoff.

    “I don’t think anyone should have to go through that again,” said Megan Brown, vice president of the House.Grey said last semester was the first time the code had been widely misinterpreted since it was last revised in Spring 2002.

    Officials agreed the code needs to be more explicit.“The vagueness of the code allowed four extremely intelligent individuals to interpret it differently,” Brown said.

    “The wording needs to be changed to eliminate loopholes,” she said. “It should be so clear they don’t have to ask.”

    Zeidman also said the code has holes and is outdated.

    “What happened was sad because we had a record voter turnout,” he said.

    Zeidman said he supports raising the amount of each candidate’s own money that can be spent, although he wouldn’t say by how much. Currently officers can spend $200 of their own money, while representatives can spend $25.

    Zeidman said he will distance himself from the revision because he was so close to the situation last semester. Eason said he would love to give his input if it was welcomed.

    The committee will meet to start revisions from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays in the SGA office in the basement of the Student Center. Officials said they encourage student participation with the revision.

    After the revision is completed, the committee will submit the new code to the House to be voted on.