Executive Student Government Association candidates will be able to spend an extra $300 on their campaigns in November after the House passed a bill Tuesday, 27-14, to extend campaign expenses in the Student Body Code. Kelly Barnes, sophomore class representative, proposed the bill and said the motivation for the legislation was fueled by the low voter turnout last year and the lack of advertisement options for less than $200.
“The extra money would allow potential candidates to use more advertisement than your typical signs that line the walk from Sadler to the library,” Barnes said. “This would not only help get the faces of students who are campaigning all around campus, especially in the Worth Hills area, but the actual voting date as well.”
Last fall, about 20 percent of the student body voted in elections, said Kim Appel activities coordinator and SGA adviser.
“Voter turnout is very difficult to determine because students do not have to vote for all four offices,” she said. “The candidates will advertise themselves and their platforms, and SGA just advertises the election date.”
Appel also said the $500 allowed for campaigning will come directly from the candidates’ pockets and not out of SGA funds.
Senior class representative Mark Tschirhart said the bill could turn people away from running for a student government office Nov. 13 because of financial reasons. However, Barnes said not having money is not a problem.
“If the students were in a financial situation, they could go around campus and raise the amount of money they need,” he said. “It is all about campaigning and getting the candidates’ faces out to the public.”
Neeley School of Business representative Perry Cunningham agreed.
“Five hundred dollars is a lot of creativity to use on a campaign,” he said. “If candidates are passionate and they do not have extra money, then they can fundraise.”
Former finance committee chair Jonathan Leer said having tight budgets will cause candidates to get creative with their campaigns.
The bill also raised the total spending limit for a run-off to $100 from last year’s $50.
Vice President Thomas Pressly said he is in favor of the changes and views the bill as a new way to reach out to voters.
“I think that if I would have had the extra money last year, I would have been able to appeal to more students in a way other than just sitting there handing out flyers,” Pressly said. “It is important to raise the voting outcome.”
Also passed was a resolution to improve the safety of South University Drive by supporting the use of traffic devices such as speed bumps, brick pavements and narrowing the street to one lane.
College of Science and Engineering representative Brett Major introduced the legislation and said the traffic that runs on University Drive is not only a dangerous threat to students but also a noise interference for TCU’s outdoor learning, which is one of the goals of the new residential community.
“I have heard a lot of concerns about safety on University and I think it is an issue that needs to be addressed as traffic continues to increase,” Major said. “I think it is frustrating enough to have a major road cutting through the heart of campus, and now that safety has become an issue, it is something that needs to be addressed.