After the recent institution of constitutional reform, Student Government (SG) is hard at work again, this time regarding the current election rules. The two main issues of concern that SG is dealing with are tickets and endorsements, and if they should prevent candidates from using them.
Both tickets and endorsements are tools that can be used by students during SG elections.
Tickets are used when candidates wish to run with other candidates. For example, a President and Vice President can campaign together and would be on the same ticket. In general terms, a ticket means that you cast one vote and you vote for every person on that ticket.
However, tickets at the University of Dallas are somewhat instituted.
Senior senator Katie Groves, said, “Our election system is a one vote, one seat kind of system. So, you just vote for one person that just fills just one seat.”
UD allows candidates to campaign with one another, but unlike the general definition of tickets, students must still cast a vote for each position, not one vote for an entire ticket.
“There’s been some confusion as to how that works,” Groves said. “We don’t actually have functioning tickets at UD because you have to make two choices to fill two seats.”
Groves said that if the bylaw passes, “We’re banning tickets but tickets don’t even exist. We’re just banning the campaigning as if you are voting for a ticket.”
“Problems with having a ticket would be: is you elect in an executive council that fully agrees. You’re getting in a bunch of people that will all have the same ideas,” Groves said in an email “Of course you’re gonna differ on some stuff but they will all have similar ideas and similar orientation.”
Joe Scholz, SG President, also commented on this issue.
“When it comes to banning co-campaigning as a ticket, there are two sides with good arguments. I do, however, believe that limiting the flexibility with which campaigns conduct campaigning risks disproportionately limiting the outreach opportunities for candidates who come from underrepresented groups on campus.”
Groves said that “Tickets are really strong because you’re seeing that common vision. You should be considering the best candidates for that position, who you want to see working through the problems.”
The next issue presented at the SG meeting was the issue of preventing candidates from soliciting endorsements from clubs and professors.
Candidates can receive endorsements from both clubs and professors during their campaigns to boost their credibility while running, with the goal of receiving more votes.
Groves and others wish to prevent candidates from soliciting endorsements from clubs and professors.
“We just don’t want clubs to be under the impression that in endorsing this candidate, it may make them more likely to receive grant funding,” she said. “We are not representing the organizations. We are representative of the students, we’re trying to keep it to just the students.”
Groves mentioned not only the clubs, but also the issues of professors giving out endorsements: “We just don’t want candidates going out and soliciting endorsements from their professors because that puts the professors in a weird situation. What if multiple of their students are running? We just don’t want to put anyone in any potentially weird situations.”
At the SG meeting that occured on Monday, both these topics were brought up for discussion, and many senators expressed their concerns on both sides of the issues.
The meeting began with a discussion of allowing candidates to run on tickets.
Junior Senator Greg Vanderheiden began discussions, advocating for the elimination of tickets due to the confusion it may cause.
“The problem is definitely with the people who are voting, and that could theoretically be clarified with you know, some kind of information disclaimer.” Vanderheiden said. “So like there’s a way to get that information to everybody. The thing is, people don’t like to read things and it’s annoying to try to put little disclaimers everywhere so that way people know things.”
Vanderheiden continued with his argument, “It makes it much easier on the student body if people do not run as a ticket. Just because, even though there is a way to fix it, often times it doesn’t get fixed because of, people don’t pay attention or people already have ideas in their heads based on people running as tickets. So if we don’t have people run as tickets then that confusion will be eliminated.”
Senior Senator Maggie Chavey responded to the argument that this may cause confusion for the voters saying, “It just seems a little bit wrong to form bylaws based on the opinion that our peers are ignorant on the voting process” Chavey says. “I think we are all surrounded by somewhat intelligent people who can figure out for themselves what the rules are.”
After both sides of the arguments were presented the senators voted on whether to strike the bylaw or not. Striking the bylaw would mean that candidates can run on tickets, while a failure to strike the bylaw meant that candidates cannot run on a ticket.
The vote was only an informal vote, SG would still need approval from President Hibbs, however they voted to strike the bylaw, meaning that candidates could run on a ticket.
The next item on the table that SG discussed was the prevention of candidates soliciting endorsements from clubs and professors.
Senior Senator Dolores Mihialak said, “If we cut off Professors and Student Organizations from, you know, endorsing candidates, I think that adds another degree of separation between the senate and then what everyone is doing on campus.”
Sophomore Senator Nathan Metts argued differently saying, “Not everyone in a student organization may agree to support a candidate. So I think it’s unfair for the executives in that organization to just make that decision for everyone.”
Discussions continued and a vote regarding if candidates should be able to solicit endorsements from professors persisted.
The bylaw eventually came to a vote and the decision was as follows: Candidates may solicit endorsements from clubs, however, they may not solicit endorsements from professors. Again, this was yet another informal vote, it would still need to be approved by President Hibbs to be enacted.
In summary, the informal votes of SG conclude that candidates are allowed to run on tickets as well as solicit endorsements from clubs, but not seek these endorsements from professors.