SA hopefuls begin campaigning

Students can begin campaigning for the upcoming Student Association, Program Board and Marvin Center Governing Board elections Monday at 6:32 a.m.

Although candidate petitions were due Friday evening, the University must officially certify students before they can start campaigning, said John Plack, chair of the Joint Election Committee, which oversees the election process. Elections for the three groups are scheduled to take place Feb. 25 and 26.

Students can hand out palm cards, go door-to-door campaigning and publicize Web sites, among other types of advertising, starting Monday, but cannot hang up posters until Feb. 20 at 4 p.m.

Plack declined to disclose the names of candidates until Monday morning. But The Hatchet has learned that students Clifton Coffey, David Feldman, Dan LeClair, Isaiah Pickens, Ruarri Miller, Lee Roupas and Omar Woodard are running for SA president.

Sen. Anyah Dembling (U-ESIA), Sen. Asher Corson (U-CCAS) and Rajiv Patman are vying for SA executive vice president.

Several candidates said they are aggravated with Monday’s campaign start date since petitions were due Friday, which gave them the impression that campaigning would begin then.

“I’m ready to start (campaigning); I feel that there should have been some clarification with the (JEC) charter,” said Pickens, who declared his candidacy a few weeks ago.

Pickens has been putting together a campaign Web site but said details and the address cannot be publicized until Monday morning.

Candidates with experience in the JEC, such as Woodard, blamed some misunderstandings from candidates on SA bureaucracy.

“If the Senate passed the JEC earlier, it would have given more time for people to get stuff together and let the JEC get the word out. A lot of people didn’t even know elections were happening,” Woodard said.

SA Sen. Ben Traverse (U-CCAS), who recently decided not to run for SA president after announcing his candidacy a few weeks ago, said he was “so ill-informed about picking up the petition for elections, the only way I found out was by reading one of the JEC guys’ away messages.”

The JEC is made up of representatives from the SA, Program Board and Marvin Center Board.

A group of 14 students is promoting a “Clean Slate” ticket, with a platform about reforming the SA and Greek-letter life, which members of the slate said has become a target of the University lately. The Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Sigma Kappa and Kappa Sigma fraternities are on social probation, limiting their eligibility to participate in events and throw parties. The Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority received social probation from its national organization in November for hazing, said Bonnie Wunsch, executive director of Alpha Epsilon Phi.

Coffey, also president of Delta Tau Delta, is running for president on the slate, and Corson, a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, is running as EVP. While the group of candidates will be promoting itself together, the JEC is not allowing the group to put its name on the ballot because it is considered a form of campaigning.

“The charter is specifically written to keep parties off the ballot. A title such as ‘The Clean Slate’ is a nickname, not a title that is allowed on the ballot,” said Plack, of the JEC.

Corson said he doesn’t think the JEC has the jurisdiction to define his title and that he plans to keep contesting the JEC if it will not allow the affiliation on the ballot.

“The Clean Slate grew out of my frustration as a senator, when I couldn’t get the support I needed to actually deal with issues,” Corson said.

Candidates said they plan to campaign in residence halls, the Marvin Center and around campus.

A formal candidate meeting will occur Thursday in Marvin Center room 307 at 9 p.m. to introduce candidates to the election process. n

-Julie Gordon contributed to this report.

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