LETTER: Student government official responds to recent election criticism
The editorial titled “Candidates are Lost in Obscurity Despite Change in SGA Leadership” was a sorely biased and under researched piece. Publishing this article promotes the false idea that there is no connection between the students and the peers that help to make their school better, one motion at a time.
Being the current co-Chair of the Elections Rules and Procedures Committee within the Student Senate, I know just how hard each candidate worked to get his or her name out to the UMW community. The ERPC monitors only the elections of the SGA, not Class Council or the Finance Committee, and can only regulate the campaigning and elections processes. It is the responsibility of each candidate to get his/her platforms across to the students. Although we might have elections for all three at the same time, I can only account for the SGA positions and elections.
Throughout the SGA election process, candidates have regulations, which they have to adhere to that allow for a fair election, but they are still quite able to interact with their peers and ask people to vote.
This year, during the week leading up to elections, the ERPC hosted a Debate Night for the first time. We decided to hold it, as students had requested such an event. At the debate, only two students were present, other than the candidates. Because of this, the candidates decided to not actually debate, and left disappointed in the turn out.
In addition, as is written in the regulations, the ERPC hosted a Voter Info night in which we set up a table in Seacobeck for people to vote by both electronic and paper ballots. Candidates were allowed to show up and talk to tables, which they did. I know that many of the candidates, including all three SGA President candidates showed up and did just that.
Whenever there is an election, bios are made available online to the students so that they have a better idea just who they are voting for, rather than just picking a name or person at random. The link to the bios comes in the same e-mail that includes the actual voting link. This year, the bios were posted on the SGA blog, and were available the entire week leading up to the actual elections.
Facebook is another way for candidates to get their name, goals and ideas out to the students of UMW. Each candidate was able to make a Facebook event in which they could post their biography, pictures, videos and goals to the students while asking for their vote. All candidates who were running against others took this opportunity to make their case to the public.
Candidates may not only post fliers, posters and hang a banner, but they can campaign on campus walk, as some of them did. I can personally say that every candidate that ran wished to know what the students wanted or thought about their school. Many platforms were based upon representing the population as a whole, not just their friends.
Both of the aforementioned events were in the Weekly E-mail that comes out every Monday. As it stands, there were plenty of chances to not only meet candidates, but also get to know them, talk to them or even just read about them. It is therefore not the fault of the candidates or the election process, but the students who do not take the time to get to know the people who wish to represent them.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope that in the future you will take the time to get to know the students who want make this school better for all of us.