East Carolina University’s Student Government Association (SGA) passed legislation to amend the bylaws of the student government election process on Wednesday during its weekly assembly.
Mariama Ibrahim, a senior majoring in molecular cell biology, is Attorney General for the SGA and has been a member since her freshman year.
Ibrahim said the election’s clauses and rules have been revised by the Rules and Judiciary Committee, in which she oversees.
“It’s really just to clarify the definition of campaigning, what people can and cannot do during the election season,” Ibrahim said.
The rule changes impact student elections for at-large representatives, representatives of the college, vice president and president, said Ibrahim.
Ibrahim said the election bylaws were a priority because campaigning and voting will begin in January and end in February.
Colin Johnson is the SGA president for ECU and he provided background for the necessity of bylaw corrections.
“No secret, the last election cycle was kinda a mess right, and so to ease some of those headaches we took a look at what went wrong last year, or what some of the allegations are that went wrong, and then try to make adjustments to make the language more clear,” Johnson said.
Johnson said one of the previous laws were too vague and included the prohibition of sending mass messages through apps like GroupMe.
SGA launched an internal investigation into the student body presidential election in March after allegations were made that the winning ticket, Johnson and Taylor Chappell, had violated election campaign bylaws.
“The bylaws need to be specific enough that there is no loose interpretation but they also need to be not too restricting,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he did not take part in writing any of the new legislation but he said that he did share the experience that he and his vice president, Chappell, went through during the last election cycle.
Noah Shuler, SGA’s secretary, said he was the attorney general during the election process last year and was apart of the investigation which ended with no findings of a fraudulent campaign.
“That appeal found no wrongdoing, no violations of any election rules, but it did uncover the fact that there are some ambiguities in the rules that can lead certain campaigns to grab some misunderstanding in ways that are not good,” Shuler said.
Shuler said he believes all of the issues that were raised in the last campaign were addressed by this legislation and handled appropriately.
The assembly then discussed its stance on the topic of fees being added to the game room in the Main Campus Student Center, to alleviate the amount of time students spend inside the game room.
Hunter Whittington, director of local and state affairs for SGA, asked questions pertaining to the motivation behind the introduction of fees.
“Couldn’t it be equally as effective to establish a predetermined time-limit, like there’s a three hour cap on student utilizing a system or something like that? I feel like that makes more sense and targets a specific people instead of giving a fee to the entire student body,” Whittington said.
Morgan Estes, speaker of the student assembly for SGA, said that the motivation behind this fee has nothing to do with money and is intended to inhibit the facilitation of poor habits, like spending all day playing video games.
“They were finding that students were staying in the game room for eight to 10 hours just playing video games,” Estes said.
Estes said that money made from the fees would be used to pay for the Main Campus Student Center maintenance and student-workers payrolls.
Final decisions have not yet been made regarding the game room fees and ideas are still open for discussion, Estes said.
The SGA assembly meets every Wednesday in Ballroom C of the Main Campus Student Center. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.