After nearly three hours of debate over the course of two meetings, the Student Government Association House of Student Representatives passed a bill that would require students running for office to pay a $100 deposit to cover election violation fines.
Joey Parr, chair of the Elections and Regulations Committee, said the bill was written in order to provide greater accountability among students running for office.
In the past, candidates have been able to sidestep regulations by Judicial Board rulings and presidential pardons, but this bill aims to prevent that from occurring, Parr said.
The bill was amended several times, which contributed to the House decision to approve it, including one amendment that stated that the $100 deposit check would not be cashed until a determination was made regarding whether any violations had occurred, Parr said.
Gary Briggs, AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences representative, opposed the bill and said it did not allow all the students’ voices to be heard, particularly the underprivileged students who attend the university.
“The $100 deposit could be discouraging for some students who have a desire to run for an SGA office, but don’t have much money,” Briggs said. “Times are hard, especially today. In these economic times people just don’t have money to give away.”
Briggs and other opponents of the bill said the solution should include a system of holds on candidates’ student accounts that would prevent campaign violators from enrolling in classes, much like a library fine.
“If you place a hold on students’ accounts it is much more powerful than just a $100 deposit.” Briggs said. “Everyone can’t pay $100 but a hold affects everyone equally.”
SGA adviser Kim Appel said a system of holds on students’ accounts would require approval from outside offices, but holding deposit checks could be done in-house without involving the financial offices.
In addition to the legislation, Chancellor Victor Boschini was the guest speaker at the House meeting. Boschini spoke about the recession’s effect on the university, and cost-cutting solutions that the university is implementing. The university is changing the plant rotation schedule to cut down on labor costs and reducing the electricity cost by limiting the time that Amon Carter Stadium is lit, Boschini said.