Associated Students, Inc.’s (ASI) Recruitment and Development Committee is making recommendations to revise the student government election code, which it will present to ASI’s Board of Directors on Jan. 7.
“They can choose to amend or leave as is, however they see fit,” Recruitment and Development Committee Chair Gabriella Bragoli said.
Legal counsel has been reviewing the election code since summer, combing through the document to “tighten up and revamp” the election code, Bragoli said. Her committee has been working on revisions since the beginning of this quarter.
The recommendations come just months after several ASI presidential candidates, including current ASI President Joi Sullivan, were threatened with hundreds of dollars in fines for violating the election code by speaking with Mustang News prior to the active campaigning period.
What the rules say now
The current election code allows candidates to verbally promote their candidacy before active campaigning, but forbids them from written promotion such as interviews with media outlets. The rules surrounding candidates’ communication with the media that resulted in fines were suspended during spring quarter, but not permanently lifted.
What could change
According to Bragoli, the Research and Development Committee is now recommending candidates participate in a “media day” event on April 3 when they can speak with news outlets such as Mustang News. After that date, candidates would be able to freely communicate with the media.
They are also recommending a section be added to protect candidates from being faced with fines when a media outlet prints their name without the candidate actually talking to it.
“Last year, they ran into some cases where candidates’ names were either printed or brought up prior to their names being released as candidates and candidates were fined as a result,” Bragoli said. “There’s kind of a new protection clause in there.”
Other recommendations involve defining social media, non-verbal and verbal communication.
Sullivan was confident the Board would make the right decision concerning the code but also had her own views on what should change.
“Candidates should be able to speak without any restrictions, the media should have complete freedom of press and the campus should have the most information possible about the people they are electing to office,” Sullivan said.
The code will be presented to the Board of Directors along with a new election timeline. Bragoli says it’s unlikely this will be the last time they visit the election code this year.
“I have no doubt we’re going to be reviewing again come spring,” Bragoli said.