Bill passes in SGA to change campaign policies

The House of Student Representatives on Tuesday night passed the first in a series of bills aimed at cleaning up the policies for campaign materials.

The bill, proposed by the Elections and Regulations Committee, changed a section of the Student Body Code that limited the number of campaign signs allowed in campus buildings. The new rules will defer to the policy of each individual building and allow 10 signs in buildings that do not have a policy. The bill passed with 33 out of 34 votes and little discussion.

Voting on a different bill that attempted to clarify rules by regulating sign sizes was postponed last week for further review by the Elections and Regulations Committee. The committee replaced the bill, deciding not to enforce specific measurements for campaign materials.

In addition to changing the allowed number of signs, the bill also prohibited door-to-door solicitation in residence halls during election campaigns.

Garyn Goldston, sophomore College of Communication representative and Elections and Regulations Committee chair, said the committee wanted to steer away from “nit-picking” and allow candidates to be creative with their campaigns. However, he said the rules needed to be more clear.

“We had a lot of situations in last year’s election where rules were loosely interpreted,” Goldston said. “We want to strengthen the election code by providing a sturdy frame of rules.”

Further legislation is in the works in order to clarify and adjust more of the rules, he said. The committee was especially interested in eliminating one regulation that prohibited candidates from creating traveling polling stations through their lap tops and iPhones because committee members believe it is a useful campaign tactic to get votes, Goldston said.

The committee’s ultimate goal was to loosen the rules in general, he said.

“We don’t want the candidate who wants it more to not have the opportunity to demonstrate that,” Goldston said.

Also in Tuesday’s meeting, Student Body President Marlon Figueroa gave a report from a meeting with the university’s Alcohol Task Force and representatives from Southern Methodist University’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention last week to find out what suggestions SMU had for the university regarding campus safety. Figueroa said the committee found many of the suggestions were things the university was already doing, such as providing the Medical Amnesty Good Samaritan Policy, which allows students to call for medical help without receiving an alcohol fine. He said the university was already ahead of SMU in safety by requiring students to live on campus for their first two years, which makes for a safer environment because the university can control security on campus with their own police department. Further, because resident assistants are present at campus dormitories, it would be more difficult for underage students to use alcohol in excess, Figueroa said.

In addition to Figueroa’s report, the Dining Services Committee shared information from a visit last Thursday to Baylor University to find ways to improve the dining services plan.

Abbey Brokos, a sophomore AddRan College representative and Dining Services Committee chair, said the biggest difference is that student workers served the food. Baylor’s meal prices were much higher than the university’s and the committee was unimpressed with the cleanliness and quality of services, such as the lack of sneeze guards around food areas, she said.

According to Baylor’s Web site, meal plan prices range from $658.10 to $2,325.21, the price of the unlimited plan. At TCU, meal plan prices range from $700 to $2,200, with unlimited plans starting at $1,815, according to the TCU Dining Services Web site.

Brokos said the committee picked up several ideas, such as a pasta and stir-fry station and dessert pizza that committee members plan to explore.