Special Election Sparks Controversy

Proposed amendments to the Student Body Association (SBA) constitution may result in the loss of students’ ability to vote for government representatives.

The SBA says the decision to hire rather than elect the next President and Minister of Communications may be for the best.

“We aren’t trying to take away voter’s rights,” said Shoreline’s Minister of Constitutional Affairs Elouiessa Muana. “There’s more to it than that.”

This is the first year the proposal has been placed on the ballot. Currently, there are two remaining elected positions: the President and Minister of Communications.

Making this change could potentially allow the student government to run more efficiently, according to Muana.

“When the positions are elected, it can turn into a popularity contest,” she said. “Especially when there are only two candidates running for the presidency like this past election.”

Being such vital positions on campus, the SBA said they want to ensure candidates with the knowledge and skills to be good leaders are appointed as President and Minister of Communications.

“We want to help to prepare students for the real world, where they will have to apply for jobs and be hired based on their qualifications,” Muana said. “We also believe that hiring the President and Minister of Communications may encourage more students to become involved with the student government. We want more people on board.”

If the referendum passes, future Presidents and Ministers of Communications would undergo a thorough interview process, conducted by a hiring committee.

Although the hiring committee would consist of students, faculty, staff, and administration, it would not replace the power of student body voting for who represents them.

“What they are asking is too high a price. It’s better to have the student majority actually have a say in their government. 60 people should not be making a decision that important,” said SCC student and occasional contributing writer to the Ebbtide Alan Charnely.

Despite the SBA’s claims that a hiring process would be more inclusive to potential applicants, Charnley believes otherwise.

“Essentially it will just be friends interviewing friends for who they want to replace them,” he said. “In a democracy, we might not always get who we want, but we endure until the next round of elections. Most students I’ve talked to are very annoyed by this. I find the people who want this change are in the minority.”

The SBA sent out two campus-wide e-mails with notifications about the special elections, but critics say they did little else to publicise the event.

“Is it really fair to have only one weeks’ notice for this kind of election for students trying to balance, work, family, education and academic pursuits?” Charnely said. “An e-mail is definitely not enough. They needed better advertising.”

All constitutional changes were originally presented on the ballot for the April 17-19 election. Due to inadequate notice, all constitutional referendums were ruled invalid by the SBA, resulting in the second election.

Official results from the May 6-8 special election will be released early next week after they are approved by the student parliament.

In the event that new constitutional amendments do not reflect what the majority of the student body wants, the decision can be repealed by the SBA with a petition of 1,500 student signatures.

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