Student elections are coming up in the next semester, and there might be a change to how much the candidates can spend on their campaigns. The student senate has been looking into putting a budget cap on the student campaigns.
The senate created a committee of senators who will look at the issue, discuss it over the winter break and come back to senate in the spring with a recommendation.
Brady Harris, the legislative vice president, said the senate received many complaints about the issue last year and the year before. He said going out and finding donations for campaigning takes time away from academics.
“I think there should be a cap on how much you get from donations and how much you put your personal money into the campaign,” said Viviana Felix, the Hispanic students senator, “just because personally with me, being a minority, you are restricted on how much money you have personally. I did go out to companies and ask for money, but most of the companies I knew would do it for me being Hispanic, but the turnout wasn’t so great.”
Matthew Glover, the honors and BIS senator, said he doesn’t think there should be a limit.
“I think that the individuals that want to invest more time, they want to invest more money, they should do so,” Glover said. “I feel that the money really has a little bit less to do with it, because I don’t think you are going to see somebody that receives (such) an insane amount of money that they’re handing out iPods as part of their campaign.”
He said that if candidates spend more money, it shows the devotion they have to the positions they are running for.
“I think when they want it that badly, they know it’s not going to be a road trip, it’s not going to be that easy,” Glover said. “They are looking out for the interest of the students.”
Justin Neville, the former student senate president, came into a senate meeting to discuss the topic. He said there have been budget caps in the past that have not worked. The candidates were required to keep track of how much money they spent. He said candidates could claim they received a donation from their families’ businesses and they were not considered personal expenditures.
“It’s obviously got to be a figure that would still allow the students to be resourceful and still have the opportunity to campaign in an effective way, but not in the extent that it becomes too cost-prohibitive for too many people,” said Neville about the budget limit.
There is currently a limit on how much advertisement space each candidate can have. Some students choose to make big signs and just have a few, while others choose to make smaller signs and put them all over campus.
“If you have everybody run equally and have the same amount of announcements and the same amount of advertising, it just has an equal election,” Felix said. “I think if you at least have a cap on both of them, it makes it equal.”