The Joint Elections Committee – the oversight body for student-wide elections – has historically been tasked with two roles. The first was to scrutinize SA campaigns and investigate violations. The second was to decide whether those violations deserved repercussions.
But the people the JEC held accountable banned the body from filing violations. Though members of the JEC have extensive knowledge of rules, procedures and traditions, they are now barred from filing infringements against candidates.
The public is still allowed to file violations. Friends working for campaigns are allowed to file violations on other campaigns. But the people who spent a great deal of time learning the ins and outs of SA campaigns cannot.
The SA Senate was overstepping its boundaries in its decision to strip the JEC of its ability to file violations.
After all, SA Senators who voted on this amendment will most likely be running for high-stakes positions this election season. Now who will keep an eye on the student body’s governing organization if its arm of accountability is powerless?
Of course, the JEC is not perfect. The election process is not perfect. In the past, individuals on the JEC have abused their power. They have dragged out the election season much longer than necessary.
But this is not representative of the body itself; it simply highlights the need for the SA Senate to appoint the right people to JEC positions.
This rule that says JEC investigators are not allowed to file violations is extremely flawed. These students are qualified and knowledgeable in this area, and to take away that responsibility is dangerous for students.
The JEC has played an important role in holding candidates accountable. For the SA Senate, which is full of future candidates, to minimize the role of this body reflects poorly upon the institution.
The SA Senate should amend the charter to restore the power for JEC investigators to file campaign violations. We hope the SA Senate has the ability to admit when it is wrong.
We also hope the JEC has the ability to keep itself in check. The effectiveness and reputation of the SA is at stake.