SGA passed legislation reshaping the way senators campaign for their seats in their meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15. No longer are senators allowed to use incentives in exchange for votes and campaigning will now last two weeks instead of three days.
Sen. Rebecca Jacks’ Act No. 14 and Resolution No. 24 were passed with a single vote of opposition and little discussion.
Act No. 14 specifically addresses “value-based” campaigning, whereas typically candidates for SGA incentivize students to vote for them by handing out baked goods or other gifts. The passing of Act No. 14 prohibits any such action with the hopes of voting to be based solely upon the candidate’s qualifications.
“I believe that positions of political campaign shouldn’t be places of power. You shouldn’t be able to use financial gain as a way to get them,” Jacks said. Also, Jacks said she believes her legislation “levels the playing field” for campaigning senators that may not have the same financial benefits as others. The legislation passed 21-1.
Res. No. 24 passed unanimously to extend the senate campaigns in order to give candidates more time to reach out to voters. This also allows for a more thorough orientation process. Before the passing of this legislation, orientation for new senators was held two days before the elections. Res. No. 24 pushes orientation back to two weeks before elections.
Jacks’ three other pieces of legislation also passed with little no opposition. Resolutions No. 23 and 26 ask for more diet drink options in dining facilities and call for a change of the paper used in the library. Jacks said the paper currently used is too difficult to recycle.
Jacks’ Res. No. 25 will see a letter written to Campus Public Safety as well as the Physical Plant to add signage to the five faculty parking spaces in the Foy parking lot. Chief Justice Lane Chisenhall, who is a member of student tribunal and therefore sees all appealed parking tickets that are appealed, said those parking spaces see the most violations on campus.
“Those five spaces in front of the tennis center always have commuter parking students in them, and they are always ticketed,” Chisenhall said.
Chisenhall also said he supports Jacks’ legislation because something needs to change. Jacks said she had received a ticket for parking in that area.
Executive Secretary Blaine Gundersen was applauded for her work orchestrating the SGA Blood Drive, which President Ryan Honea said “saved an estimated 200 lives.”
Vice President Dylan Kellogg said the SGA currently has a senior senator vacancy and is seeking a replacement.
The first 10 minutes of all SGA meetings are reserved for students with concerns, which Greg Castleberry used to voice his concern regarding the views of the second amendment among SGA senators, as well as their votes the previous week on bills in the Tennessee State Legislature regarding guns on campus.
SGA meets at 5 p.m. every Wednesday in MUC 307.