Student Government opens up election season

The election process is beginning for Sam Houston State University’s Student Government Association (SGA).

Elections for new student senators are April 11 and 12. However, the deadline for turning in the application is March 20 by 5:00 p.m.

Also, there is a meeting for all candidates on Tuesday March 21 at 5:00 PM in LSC room 304. All candidates must attend, according to SGA election codes.

However, the election codes list a few, valid excuses. If the candidate has class, he or she must bring an official, typed schedule or a letter from a professor to the SGA office two days before the meeting. Students who are sick must submit a signed letter to the SGA office 24 hours before the meeting with a note from a licensed physician attached.

Finally, if students must work, a letter with the student’s place of work and time must be submitted to the SGA office at least two days before the meeting. The student must also attach proof of his or her work schedule.

Students interested in holding an officer position must have a GPA of 2.5 and a 2.0 to run for a senator seat. Students interested in running for an officer cannot be a true freshman.

“If this is your second semester, you’re good on all positions,” SGA secretary Chris Whitaker said.

The position of president has different requirements. The candidate must have been in SGA a full semester unless fewer than three students from SGA run.

Campaigning remains a huge part of a candidate’s road to the election. The SGA election codes list several regulations about campaigning.

Candidates are permitted from passing out any campaign literature prior to the official start of the campaign.

Campaigning begins three weeks before the election. This year, the campaigning begins Tuesday March 21.

Students may campaign using freestanding signs, speeches, personal solicitation and using mass media such as e-mail. However, candidates may not send out unsolicited, mass e-mails.

Current SGA president Kendrick Spencer added some additional campaign rules.

“The major violation rules are: no one can campaign in the SGA Office (or use it’s supplies for that matter); no unsolicited mass e-mails; no campaigning near the polls (computer labs, etc),” Spencer said.

Students will vote online. Students will login using their username and password and submit the ballot this way.

There have been mixed emotions as far as election experiences for SGA members.

Spencer said he has had a rather good experience with the election.

“Running for the highest position one can obtain in their undergraduate studies was pretty amazing… it was like no other. Becoming the youngest student body president-elect was an important goal of mine,” Spencer said.

Chris Whitaker said that his experience with SGA election was not that pleasant.

“I’ve only been through one and I hated it so I did propose changes,” Whitaker said.

This year brought changes to the SGA election process. Changes included campaigning policies, dates and policies concerning the breaking of rules.

Last year, the SGA election had to be redone because one candidate broke rules. Whitaker said that this year there would not be any new elections if a candidate breaks the rules. He said that that candidate would just be “out of the election.”

Historically, voter turnout has been low for elections and for candidates running, according to Whitaker.

Whitaker said that he would like to see every seat on the senate contested.

“Student government only works if you have everybody involved,” Whitaker said.

Because of this, Whitaker developed the Centurion Project. Whitaker said that to have every senate seat contested, there needs to be 100 senators running.

“Even if 99 out of 100 students are apathetic, I want that one person to run for a senator position,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker created a group on called Centurion Project to urge students to take part of the election process.

On the Centurion Project Web site, Whitaker stressed that it takes everyone to run a successful student government.

“It takes people majoring in Ag, CJ, music therapy, poli sci, Spanish, comp sci, education, history and psyc,” Whitaker said. “It takes the Republicans, the Democrats, Chi Alpha, Stonewall, NAACP, P.C., Greeks, Geeks and more.”

A few students were asked if they were going to be involved in this year’s election. Most of them said no.

The reason that was given most was that they [the students] did not know anything about the elections or the candidates.

“I don’t think I will mostly cause I don’t know anything about the elections,” said one freshman dance and theater major.

A junior political science major said he did not know anything about the candidates and just found out about the election. He said unless he finds out more about the candidates between now and the election, he will not vote.

“I do not plan to vote in them because I do not know who is running and an un-researched vote pretty useless,” the same student from above said.

Both students requested that their names not be used for the story.

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