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MCSG amends bylaws regarding EPC’s role in response to campaign complaints

MCSG passed amendments to the bylaws of the Election Procedure Committee (EPC) at their most recent weekly meeting.
The bylaw amendments will refine the role that the EPC plays in student government elections and campaigning, along with clarifying how violations of election or campaigning procedures will be dealt with in the future. After a campaigning period for this year’s executive elections was marred by confusion and complaints over violations, MCSG decided that the the bylaws should be reviewed and improved.

Prior to passing the amendments, a brief discussion clarified points about language and additions made since the amendments were introduced at the April 8 MCSG meeting.

“We’ve made it so the first Monday after spring break is the candidate’s meeting,” said Sam Doten ’16. “That way things are standardized in sync with the semester.”
More serious discussions took place around violations of the campaigning period or the election process in general.

“Any violation should be reported to the EPC,” said James Lindgren ’15. “A violation could be anything from as serious as violating the campaigning period to telling a fib during the candidates’ debate.”

“If someone violates a rule…the whole student body will find out,” Lindgren said. “It has to be sent out on [a] student announce.”
Guidelines about endorsements were also updated. At the time of the meeting, the revised bylaws stated that while MCSG staff could not endorse candidates, MCSG executive board members could. Merita Bushi ’14 asked for clarification.

“It’s because [staff are] paid through MCSG as work study positions,” Lindgren said. “Preventing execs from endorsing could be considered an infringement on students’ rights and responsibilities.” He added that the Judicial Council had not gotten back to the bylaw revisions task force to affirm whether or not execs should be able to publicly endorse members or not.

“The college can’t restrict students’ free speech,” said Dean of Students Jim Hoppe, adding that student organizations could if “it was considered reasonable for the function of the organization.”

At Hoppe’s information and Bushi’s suggestion, the bylaw was amended so that execs would also be prohibited from endorsing candidates. Following these changes, the amendment passed 16-1.

“I think this was a really good example of people getting together and doing something important,” Bushi said.

The rest of the meeting continued smoothly, with a budget presentation from the FAC and other business taken care of quickly. The legislative body finally approved posting last years’ leftover ice rink materials for sale on Craigslist and moving the money into the capital fund.

The MCSG bylaw formatting bill, which focuses on keeping the bylaws organized, legible, and accurate, was introduced by Chief of Staff Ian Calaway ’16 and President Kai Wilson ’14 and will be voted on next week.

April 18, 2014

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