Senators reject disqualification bill as too lenient
By Will DeWitt
Student senators voted to reject a bill that defined disqualification in the electoral code in the Student Senate meeting Thursday.
The SE58-30 Disqualification Defined bill was an attempt by the operations and procedures committee, the committee responsible for reviewing all bills involving internal issues and documents, to more clearly define how candidates in student elections can be disqualified by the electoral commission.
“There aren’t any clear parameters as to which offenses are worthy of disqualification,” said Fort Worth junior Daniel Houston, chairman of the operations and procedures committee. “Disqualification should only be reserved for the rarest and most extreme circumstances.”
Under the proposed revisions, the offending candidate would be given a list of infractions as determined by the electoral commission and the candidate would have 24 hours to correct the infractions. If the candidate did not fully correct all the infractions, the electoral commission would then give the candidate until noon the following business day to fix the problems. If the candidate still fails to correct the infraction, he or she would be automatically disqualified.
Those opposed to the bill said it was needlessly restrictive and would give candidates too much power to break the rules.
“Because of the time lag, a candidate could do virtually anything the night before the election and there’s nothing that the electoral commission can do,” said Corsicana junior Randall Holloman.
Houston junior Gregg Ortiz, electoral commissioner, who was on hand at the meeting to give inquiring senators a perspective from the electoral commission, said putting restrictions on when a candidate could be disqualified would needlessly constrain the powers and effectiveness that the electoral commission has in dealing with offending candidates.
“Candidates get real creative when going around sanctions,” Ortiz said. “Disqualification is a very serious sanction and it isn’t even discussed unless you have a multiple offender or a serious offense.”
The senate also tabled a bill that was ready for voting on reopening the South Russell basement.
Three bills went into first reading including a bill to allocate finances to Diadeloso and a bill that would allow those with concealed carry licenses to carry their firearms on campus.
Clare Paul, energy outreach manager, was at the meeting to discuss Baylor’s ongoing energy awareness campaign. Baylor, partnering with Aramark, will be implementing different measures to raise energy awareness around campus, including residence hall energy reduction competitions and changing light bulbs to the more energy-friendly CFL bulbs. Baylor’s goal is to save $2 million over the next four years with this campaign.
Student body president Michael Wright also informed senators that the first listening session for the new strategic plan will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday on the fifth floor of Cashion.