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Minutes

September 7, 2008 Minutes

Elections Town Hall Meeting

Minutes for SGA Meeting of 7 September 2008
Campus Center Main Lounge, 7pm

Agenda:
Roll Call
Announcements
Elections Presentation

Meeting called to order at 7:10 pm by Elections Co-Head Amber Zambelli, ’09.

Roll Call

Assembly members present: 

Amanda Cegielski, Weezie Lauher, Anne Bugnaski, Kendalyn Brown, Sofia Nitchie, Erica Seaborne, Amber Zambelli, Cara Sogliuzzo, Marisa Franz, Trina Banerji, Deepjyot Singh, Callie Jensen, Christina Wagner, Rachel Corey, Grace Kung, Teresa Palatsis, Katherine Redford, Kendra Hayde, Shelley Gupta, Katie Kellom, Klaralee Charlton.

Unexcused absence: 
Madison Schaeffer.


Announcements

Marina Fradera, ’09: Pulso Latino will be holding auditions Saturday the 13th and Sunday 14th of September from 2-5pm in Pem Dance Studio.

Taline Cox, ’10: National Disaster Preparedness Training will be held this Thursday at the parking lot of the Bryn Mawr Public Library from 6-9 pm. For more information, please contact Taline at tcox@brynmawr.edu or Steve Green at sgreen@brynmawr.edu.

Anne Bugnaski, ’10: Thanks for such an awesome Parade Night! We had one of the largest turnouts in recent memory.

Elections Presentation

Amber Zambelli, ’09, Elections Co-Head: We know it’s the first weekend of the year, and there was not much publicity for this meeting, since most of you aren’t on listservs as of yet, so thank you very much for coming out tonight. We are just going to tell you about what’s going on in elections at the moment. We are happy to answer any questions you might have both during the presentation and afterwards, and if you have any individual questions, we will be staying after the meeting, so please come talk to us.

Erica Seaborne, ’09, Elections Co-Head: This first part of the presentation is about policies and procedures, just so everyone gets an idea of how elections are actually run. Also, just as a public service announcement, any information you take away from tonight, please share with everyone you know so that elections will be even more successful.

So, tomorrow, nominations will open at 9am for the positions of SGA President, Class of 2010 Presidents, and TWO separate Board of Trustees Representative positions (they are not co-positions, but two separate voting positions that you will serve for two years). The last positions are open to anyone from any class, and we would really appreciate these positions, as the Board of Trustees would really love for students to be involved at the meeting.

Amber Zambelli: You will get an email tomorrow morning about the fact that nominations are open.

Erica Seaborne: Now for the timeline of the elections: nominations open tomorrow at 9 am, and will run through Sunday the 14th at 5 pm. No nominations will be accepted later than that. After nominations close, we will email all of you who were nominated to either accept or reject your nomination. Then, the Candidates’ Info Session will be held at 9 pm in CC200 on Monday the 15th. Thursday the 18th is the Candidates’ Forum to ask questions about the candidates’, which will be at a time TBA in the CCML.

Amber Zambelli: If there are any nominees who have a standing commitment on the 15th that would not allow them to come at the normal time, we will make a quick change if we have to, so everyone can come, since the Candidates’ Info Session is mandatory for candidacy.

Erica Seaborne: Then, voting will open Monday the 22nd at 9am and close Tuesday the 23rd at 5pm.

Amber Zambelli: Here is a visual of the elections timeline.

Erica Seaborne: You’ll be getting lots of emails with the correct dates on them.

Amber Zambelli: Now we will go through the “cliffs notes” version of the elections process.

Erica Seaborne: You can submit nominations to eseaborne@brynmawr.edu, azambelli@brynmawr.edu, or both of us jointly at elections@brynmawr.edu. You must confirm your nomination by email – candidates cannot run if they do not confirm their candidacy. You can also rescind your nomination at any time in the process if you decide that you no longer wish to run for that office. We will put stuff up on the SGA board here in the CC so that the community knows who is running for which positions, and when the website is up and running, that list will be up there, too.

Amber Zambelli: The Candidates’ Info Sessions are held traditionally in CC200, and it is an opportunity for all of the candidates to review all campaign guidelines. We will furnish an outline of the responsibilities of those particular positions and a list of the current position-holders so that candidates can figure out what they are getting into. Failure to attend the Candidates’ Info Sessions makes a candidate ineligible to run. You need to know this information, hence why this is a required session.

Erica Seaborne: A list of current people and responsibilities of positions will also go up on the SGA board here in the CC in an elections packet that is soon to come, so that you can look ahead at positions you may run for in the future.

The next part of the process is the Candidates’ Forum, which is one of the most important parts of the elections process. The community can come and meet all of the candidates for each position and ask questions to determine for themselves who they feel is the best person for the job. Candidates’ Forum will always be held here, in the CCML. Candidates are also allowed to make posters for your candidacy that will be presented at the Candidates’ Forum. Also, you can ask questions. Last year, people were only allowed to ask questions of an entire group of candidates, not to one particular candidate, but this year we are changing it. You are now allowed to ask individual questions to candidates, because we feel that this is one of the only ways to find out information that distinguishes one candidate from the next. We will call people out of order if their questions are not in the spirit of the Honor Code. Once again, this is a mandatory meeting for all candidates – we will be somewhat flexible in case of emergency, and in working with schedules, but you must attend, or you will be disqualified.

Amber Zambelli: Voting opens Monday at 9 am, and closes Tuesday at 5 pm traditionally, or voting could be held for an equivalent length/period of time on other days.

Erica Seaborne: We would never run an election on a Sunday, because that would just be mean, but the other days are fine for voting.

Amber Zambelli: Voting is conducted via Survey Monkey. In the event of a technical difficulty, like the Internet breaking, we will conduct voting via by paper ballot. If you have problems trying to vote, you can always send an email to the Elections Co-Heads with your vote, which will, of course, be kept confidential.

Erica Seaborne: Everyone will receive a personalized voting link to vote, you just need to go online and check your email.

Amber Zambelli: Remember that if you have opted out of Survey Monkey in the past, you will not get a link to vote, so you will need to opt back in in order to vote.

Now, onto the Bylaws! We just want to highlight and clarify some points to make them clear. The first part is about use of “free internet sources” while campaigning. The bylaws say that the use of any mass email or internet source that produces a mass email is prohibited. Obviously, a listserve is a mass email, but less obviously, and those that also send out mass emails, and thus are prohibited include : tagged facebook items (notes, pictures, etc.), facebook messages, since they can be sent to many people, especially through groups, and all of the equivalent functions on myspace and other networking type sites. Those actions and places where campaigning is allowed include Facebook and Myspace profiles, user statuses, and personal blogs. Keep in mind, though, that all statements made on these places are bound by the Honor Code.

Erica Seaborne: Which brings us to honor-code friendly statements: Anything you say is subject to the Honor Code. So, for example, you couldn’t say “I’m running for Lawn Man against Amber, and Amber is mean, so I should win”.

Amber Zambelli: Or “Amber is way cooler than Erica, and more deserving of the position of Lawn Man.”

Erica Seaborne: You are more than welcome to invite your friends to help you campaign. But you are responsible for the things your friends say and do on your behalf. “Bryn Mawrtyr is running for X position” is an OK statement to make, but you also have to have other requisite info on your print and electronic materials at the same time. A better statement would be one that is advertising the election rather than just one individual candidate. Voter turnout right now is good, but we need it to be great – and by everyone advertising in this way, we can do it.

Amber Zambelli: The posting policy states that you are only allowed one posted item per bulletin board / contiguous cork-strip. In residence halls, posters advertising candidacy are allowed only on designated SGA boards. If you do not have one, dorm presidents, please get one. Posted items must contain all mandatory info required of candidates at the info sessions. Also, posting things anywhere other than what is in the posting policy is prohibited. The posting policy will be available on our website, and is also available on the college website, and also in the handbook.

Erica Seaborne: We would also like to make a shameless plug for the Elections Board, composed of people who want to help us with elections. We need people to help us. We have one person on the board right now, and we can have up to four – we just need people. It’s pretty fun, so do it – run for one of these appointed positions in October.

If you still have problems, suggestions, or just want to chat about elections, talk to us – email us, setup a time to meet us. And our contact information, as stated earlier, is here for your use.

Any questions?

Shelley Gupta, ’09: Are you allowed to say “Vote for Me”?
Amber Zambelli: No. It comes up every info session, and the answer is always no.

Community Member: How would one have opted out of Survey Monkey?
Amber Zambelli: You have to physically do it, choose not to receive emails from them. If you’ve had a bad experience in the past with Survey Monkey, than you may have opted out, but otherwise, you are probably fine.
Erica Seaborne: Also, just a note that all first years are automatically enrolled with Survey Monkey, so there is no problem there.

Sarah Alibabaie, ’09: Can you clarify what it means for a candidate to be responsible for what their friends say?
Amber Zambelli: If you make a statement that is outside of the parameters of Honor Code and say “pass it on”, then that would be considered unfriendly. In all seriousness, you can’t be responsible for some random person saying something, because then you would have lots of people saying things that ultimately aren’t within our purview. The concern would be brought to us, but it’s the Honor Board who would deal with situations in that case.
Erica Seaborne: It also extends to things that are posted, and extends to things that go out to the campus at mass. If you are going to have your friends work with you, you must have your friends stick to the Honor Code and rules. We will go to the candidate first with any allegations, but if it is very serious, you will be disqualified. Otherwise, you will just receive a warning.
Amber Zambelli: We are operating under the assumption that no candidate is guilty until proven innocent. We will find out about things that are going on. If you are saying or posting things, you should be signing it, in all cases. This is typical honor code behaviour.
Sarah Alibabaie, ’09: Will the candidate be aware of who said what?
Erica Seaborne: If those who bring forth the information say that they can be identified, then yes. Otherwise, we must respect their privacy.

Sarah Meller, ’09 and Elizabeth Sinclair, ’09: We are curious about the policy of not saying “vote for me”. Could you explain the intent behind this?
Amber Zambelli: The original spirit behind the rule was because the object is the election – we are almost never running a single position at once, so the election should be the focus, not one specific candidate. The action of voting – “Vote for me” takes the attention away from the position and the election, and puts the priority just on you.

Community Member: What are the other positions in SGA that you will be running, and when will they be run?
Amber Zambelli: We just discussed this. The next round will include mostly positions that have gone to emergency elections – positions vacated by people taking new positions, going abroad, graduating – and also positions that expired last semester and were never filled.
Erica Seaborne: We will be announcing the election for these positions week after next, and nominations will open September 22nd.
Amber Zambelli: We will also announce this at the next SGA meeting, and have a mailbox stuffer soon, too, in order to give you time to think in case you would like to run for one of these many positions.
Erica Seaborne: If you want to know the complete list, stop by and talk to us, and we will be glad to give it to you. But you’ll also hear about them in an email, mailbox stuffers, etc.

Shelley Gupta, ’09: One last announcement: resolutions for plenary are due soon, and plenary is September 28th. Please come talk to me if you are thinking of submitting a resolution.

Meeting adjourned at 7:41 pm.

 

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