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A few changes have been made to the student election that happens each March. The Weber State University Student Senate voted on these changes on Monday.
The senate voted on four changes to the way elections are done. The most discussed one has been putting a cap on how much each candidate can spend on a campaign. The senate also looked at the age limit of who can run, how much experience each candidate needs and what to do in the case of a tie.
The senate voted on and passed three of the issues on Monday and will vote on the budget cap next week.
In order to run for a WSU-elected position, students must now be older than 18 years old. Kimberly Tribe, the College of Education senator who sponsored the bill, said this was for liability reasons.
Before, students did not need experience to run for a position in the WSU Student Association, but now students must have worked within the WSUSA for at least two semesters in order to be elected as a vice president.
“I think this will help a lot,” said Andrew Gardiner, the student association president. “I’m in favor of it completely.”
He said some students have said they have experience from working in other leadership positions outside of WSUSA.
“I see kind of both ends, but regardless, I think this is the best compromise to getting valuable leadership experience and understanding before moving on,” Gardiner said.
When voting on how much experience a candidate needs, the senate discussed if the bill should go into effect immediately or wait until this semester’s elections are over. All of the bills passed will be put into effect immediately, but the experience bill will have an exemption afterward that will allow students to appeal to the supreme court for this school year only.
According to Joshua Mullins, the Davis campus senator, the elections have been as close as 10 votes apart in the past. This is why the senate decided to make a rule in case of a tie. The tie will be broken by flipping a coin, and who gets to choose the side first is chosen alphabetically by last name.
During the meeting, members of the Student Involvement and Leadership Office came in and expressed their opinions about the possibility of a budget cap. They spoke to the senate about having to pay fair market value for donations. If the bill passes, then candidates who get things donated or for a cheaper price will have to make up the difference.
“I think we all agree that we are OK with having a limit,” said Mandie Barnes, the leadership vice president. “We think that is actually a good idea, and it’s fair, but as far as donations, we think that is a strength if students can reach out and get donations.”
Senators asked for a compromise that the discounted price candidates receive will go against their budgets, rather than the fair market price. The senate agreed the discounts were fair as long as anyone else running could get that same discount if they wanted.
“It’s for a student government position, and student government should be secondary to our education anyway,” said Justin Neville, the former Student Senate president. “So let’s, as we consider what we are doing and these policies, remember that the main purpose for being here is to get an education, and secondly is to have these leadership opportunities, and give as many people the opportunity to be able to be in these leadership positions and not restrict it to the wealthy and the few.”
The senate will discuss this bill further in the next senate meeting on Monday.