Amendment introduced to prevent Student Government election fraud

Nicole Cobler

After past incidents of Student Government campaign impersonation, where students pretended to be affiliated with rivals’ campaigns to gather private information, some SG members proposed an amendmentTuesday night that would require candidates to disclose the names of all students working for their campaigns.

Philip Wiseman, chief justice for the SG Judicial Court, said the primary goal of the amendment is to redefine “campaign workers.” Additionally, all candidates will be required to disclose lists of their workers. 

Wiseman said candidates’ workers could be defined as anyone who supported a particular candidate in the original code. They will now be defined as people who directly collaborate with those who are running. Wiseman said this should not be difficult for candidates.

“It’s a practice that everyone already does or should do,” Wiseman said. “It would not burden candidates who are wanting to run this spring.”

According to the rewritten amendment, “each candidate and executive alliance shall be required to submit to the Election Supervisory Board an up-to-date list of all workers.”

In past years, candidates were not required to report workers. Wiseman said the lack of accountability created a problem because workers would impersonate members.

The amendment would also make advertising in The Daily Texan optional, Wiseman said. Currently, election code requires SG to advertise elections in the print edition of the paper.

“Rather than having to advertise in the student newspaper … that’s an option, but we can use other alternatives,” Wiseman said. “Once we print those ads it costs around $2,000, which leaves us with not a lot of money to do anything else.”

Going forward, Wiseman said he hopes to make changes to the SG constitution that would increase the number of college representative positions available to students. The changes would also more clearly define current positions. First year representatives would more exclusively be defined as freshman undergraduates or undergraduate transfer students.

In order for a new student constitution to take effect, it must go to a student referendum and be approved by the UT System Board of Regents, Wiseman said.

During its meeting, SG members also addressed plans to pass an extended Thanksgiving break.

“As an out-of-state student, I think this extra day of travel would be helpful,” liberal arts representative Courtney May said.

Kornel Rady, SG external financial director, said the change would allow students an extra day to travel and relax. If the extension is passed, 2015 would be the earliest it would go into effect.

“There’s a lot of faculty support with this,” Rady said.

Though legislation for a longer fall break was debated at Faculty Council meetings last year, the change fell through after many faculty members said the longer break would cut into necessary lab time.

The University is required to have 70 instructional days per semester, and Rady said the added day for Thanksgiving break would be made up for by having classes begin a day early.

SG members ended the meeting by appointing Zen Ren and Marisa Kent as co-directors of the Queer Students Alliance.

Kent said she hopes to bring SG and the alliance together during her semester as co-director.