Student Senate votes to permit social media campaigning

San Antonio junior senator Chase Hardy presents a bill Thursday to add more American Flags to campus. The bill passed the senate vote unanimously.  Kevin Freeman | Lariat Photographer
San Antonio junior senator Chase Hardy presents a bill Thursday to add more American Flags to campus. The bill passed the senate vote unanimously.
Kevin Freeman | Lariat Photographer

By Madison Miller

The Student Senate unanimously voted to make alterations in the electoral code to clarify unclear wording at its meeting Thursday.

The Electoral Commission interpreted the code to say that candidates and their campaign workers cannot post anything promoting a campaign on their personal social media accounts. Social media pages dedicated specifically to the campaign, however, were allowed.

When the commission announced this interpretation at a mandatory candidate meeting Tuesday night, there were several people who were upset. The commission also said non-campaign workers could not post anything on their personal social media accounts, but it changed its interpretation Wednesday in an email to the candidates.

Port Barre, La., sophomore Lindsey Bacque helped author the bill that changes and clarifies the wording of the Electoral Code. Originally, the code did not make any provisions or give direction for candidates or campaign worker’s personal accounts.

If any candidate violated this rule, the punishment would be a hearing by the Electoral Commission and then with Judicial Affairs.

“A lot of the candidates running for student body officers felt that there were some things that needed to be clarified,”Bacque said. “It was a joint effort.”

According to the bill, any candidate, campaign worker or anyone not officially affiliated with a campaign may post to personal social networking pages or specific campaign pages regarding student government elections or asking for votes.

Although the Senate voted to approve the bill, it is not effective until Arlington senior Dominic Edwards, the student body president, signs it.

The bill also recommends the Electoral Code include that Student Activities must approve campaign web pages and campaign social networking pages. Individual posts are not subject to approval, provided the posts do not violate Baylor branding or the code of ethics.

Bacque said the bill will allow the candidates and their campaign workers to post to their personal Facebook accounts.

“That would be the main change, which has been done in the past,” Bacque said. “The Electoral Code has not reflected that.”

There were several other bills passed during the meeting. Student Senate voted in favor for the allocation of $11,926 to three different student organizations.

The Hispanic Student Association and Sigma Alpha Epsilon were unanimously granted, $4,151 for the Fiesta event on April 23. Crystal City senior Steven Rodriguez said there will be a salsa competition judged by individuals in attendance as well as free food and games.

A bill passed with a vote of 37-1 granting Phi Beta Sigma $2,500 of funding for its third annual event, “More Than We Can Bear” today from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the fifth floor of Cashion Academic Center.

League City senior Kevin Shah, co-chair for the Baylor Relay for Life committee, presented a bill that passed unanimously, granting $5,275 for Student Government’s event Lights Out for Cancer on April 17.

“There a lot of different games, bands and artists coming out,” Shah said.

Sporting an American flag tie, San Antonio junior Chase Hardy presented a bill entitled Baylor Supports the Flag by beginning with the song “America The Beautiful.” This bill, that passed unanimously, proposed adding 2 American flags and 2 Texas flags to campus in front of the Student Union Building as well as the Baylor Sciences Building and other locations that the student government sees fit, according to the bill.

The bill to give Martin Residence Hall a makeover in their Green and Gold Gym was passed unanimously. It encourages Baylor administration to make simple renovations in order to improve the campus living and learning experience.