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The 2015-16 Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) election candidate filing period has drawn to a close, with three ASI president and 58 Board of Directors (BOD) candidate packets submitted in total.
Potential candidates are given a variety of resources to guide them through the election process, including the revised election code.
Last year, a series of multiple campaign violations stemming from candidates appearing in media prior to the designated active campaign period led to multiple fines being pinned on candidates. After attracting national attention, ASI waived the fines and installed a new media policy.
“There was a lot of worry about candidates being in the media (last year),” ASI Recruitment and Development Chair and agricultural business senior Gabriella Bragoli said. “We’ve put the solution in place with Media Day in the hopes that we can create that line of communication.”
Media Day will take place on April 3, a week before active campaigning begins. The event will allow candidates to discuss their platform, goals and stance on specific campus issues.
“It is a new event that this year’s Recruitment and Development Committee has worked to develop, and we are using it to facilitate a dialogue between candidates and other media outlets (such as) Mustang News and KCPR,” Bragoli said. “It’s going to be open to everyone.”
Allotted blocks of media time may be specified for presidential and BOD candidates. These details are not final.
“What we are hoping for candidates is that they come prepared to really engage with media outlets and have a conversation,” Bragoli said.
In addition to Media Day, a general statement and list of definitions were added to the election code. These changes to the code were for clarification purposes, Bragoli said.
“One of the things I’m really excited (for) is the definitions that are at the front, because as a candidate goes through this code, I think it’s important to have those resources,” Bragoli said. “Also, we have added a general statement that outlines (how) elections are used as a learning laboratory.”
The general statement reiterates the educational purpose of student elections and notes the ASI Election Code policy’s intent is to “prevent violations of reasonable campus rules.” To provide further transparency of the code, definitions of terms used in the ASI Election Code are listed for candidates to avoid misinterpretation of rules.
One of the terms, “Active Campaigning,” is lengthily defined as written public display or distribution of information pertaining to running candidates.
According to Article IX Section C of the ASI Election Code, candidates “must avoid Media Communications to the extent possible until Media Day.”
“Students will not be punished for the media’s publishings but must avoid media communications until Media Day,” Board of Directors Vice Chair and software engineering junior Myra Lukens said. “This is a very common practice across campus elections.”
Though candidates are encouraged to “reasonably try to avoid Media Communications,” as stated in the ASI Election Code, they will not be penalized if the media independently publishes information about the candidates before active campaigning begins.
In addition, a disciplinary subcommittee was created to take care of code violations that occur during active campaigning.
“We have a disciplinary subcommittee that is set up in the event that violation of the code is brought to the attention of Recruitment and Development,” Bragoli said. “I would really stress to candidates to have that document in your decision-making processes. Have the code in mind.”
Bragoli encourages candidates to use the Recruitment and Development Committee as a resource throughout election.
“We would really love for candidates to feel they have answers that are accessible to them,” Bragoli said.