UPUA Overhauls Elections Code, Allows Candidates to Run for Multiple Offices Simultaneously
Lately, UPUA has reached a whole new level of crazy. Between the controversial and split vote on on Movin’ On funding, $10 a piece pink elephant balloons, and almost disenfranchising the Greek seats, it has been an intense few weeks in 302 HUB. Luckily, for everyone’s sanity, the assembly took a breather this Wednesday and only had one relatively easy vote on the new elections code.
Mia Rendar opened the meeting with a quick presentation about the Student Conduct Advisors. With Halloween right around the corner and the possibility of bad decision making at a high, Rendar wanted to make sure students are aware of the Student Conduct Advisors services.
“Any time a student gets in trouble on campus they have the option to ask us to advocate for them as they go through their hearings,” Rendar said.
President Katelyn Mullen then kicked off her report. Most notable was the mention of a possible executive order from Governor Corbett supporting a permanent student trustee, an initiative the UPUA brass has been spearheading all semester. Mullen and other UPUA leaders recently met with representatives from the governor’s office to discuss the issue.
“The executive order is non-binding,” Mullen said. “It would just be to say he supports what we’re trying to do and hopefully the board will see that.”
Mullen noted that there is still a lot of research and work to be done before Corbett completely throws his support behind the idea.
Now, for new business…
Policy 07-08 — Elections Code Updates:
While the title of this policy implies it had the potential to be the most boring thing in the entire world, the update to the Elections Code actually had a few interesting twists. The policy, presented by Internal Development Chair Katie Esarey and co-sponsored by most of her committee, increases the number of signatures required to run for office and also allows for candidates to run on an executive ticket as well as an assembly seat, like the “real” government.
A Presidential ticket now needs to solicit 1,000 signatures, At-Large Representatives require 500, On-Campus and Off-Campus Representatives require 250, and Academic College Representatives require 100. Previously, executive tickets needed only 500 signatures to appear on the ballot.
The floor discussion surrounded the second big change: Candidates can now run for President or Vice President and also run for a Representative position. While candidates are obviously only allowed to hold one position at one time, it puts less risk in running for an executive spot because candidates will still have an avenue to serve in UPUA if they lose the top ticket.
There are a number of immediate benefits to this. In theory, the most qualified and experienced students will run for president. Allowing them the opportunity to retain an assembly seat will only make the body stronger. Currently, most presidential losers end up falling into the abyss and end up with some executive board position or nothing at all. This will allow those people to serve UPUA in a bigger capacity. On the federal level, folks like Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. John McCain wouldn’t still be in congress unless they could run for both offices.
“In order for us to keep the best representatives on board we feel that it’s better that they still have the chance to serve,” Vice President Brenden Dooley explained.
Rep. Emily MacDonald argued against the policy because she believed there was a reason the people who lost elections in the past were not put on executive boards.
Rep. Katie Quinn also fought the policy, first over confusion of the benefits, and then over concerns that this would cause ballots to be too confusing if students are seeing the same name twice.
In the end, however, the confusion was a risk the assembly was willing to take. Rep. Anand Ganjam acknowledged that if the policy change proves to be a disaster this year, next year’s assembly can rectify the issue.
Policy 07-08 passed 31-8-0. UPUA elections aren’t until March, so kudos to the assembly for passing this thing a whole five months early.
Turtleneck of the Week — John Wortman:
Many people brought their tie game this week, but only one man can say he brought his turtleneck game. Rep. John Wortman’s neck was certainly the warmest in 302 HUB tonight. Wortman offset the sleek navy turtleneck with his classic pink blazer, in brazen disregard of fall colors. His look said metro, cool, and possible owner of a Yorkie.