USG candidate advertisements debut next week

Melissa Dilley

Commission, money limits regulate student campaigns

Campaigning for an Undergraduate Student Government position takes the old idea of running for high school student council to a whole new level.

Although campaigning began Friday for the March 10 elections, students may not see advertisements for candidates until next week.

This is because all campaign material must meet certain requirements and be approved by the elections commission before it can be presented to the public.

Nicholas Trussalo, a candidate for senator of the College of Technology, didn’t let the requirement stop him from beginning his campaign. Trussalo was one of the first candidates to begin campaigning on Facebook, the day after his name was put on the list. However, Trussalo said he still plans to post fliers.

“I will probably start putting fliers up by Friday,” he said. “I think Facebook can only go so far. It’s a good way to get people you know, but putting up fliers in class can spark interest.”

The elections commission serves as a board of elections committee for USG candidates to promote and regulate the election.

The rules range from when and where someone can campaign to how much money can be spent on the campaign.

Senator and director candidates must save their receipts to prove they are spending no more than $500 on the campaign. Executive director candidates can spend up to $600.

Any candidate who is found in error of the election commission’s rules is subject to disqualification from the race.

All campaign materials, including fliers, must first be approved by Publicity Commissioner Michael Smiley.

This year is Smiley’s first as a commissioner, but he said he doubts the committee would go as far as to disqualify a candidate.

“If either another candidate or someone else comes to us with a problem, we basically investigate matters further and decide what to do based on our discretion of the situation,” Smiley said.

Smiley said the committee can not act of its own accord and all complaints must be brought forward before it can investigate.

Because candidates have come to terms with the fact they can’t solicit in dorm rooms, post fliers without permission or hold a rally in the plaza, most have taken a more laid-back and sensible approach: hanging out.

Joe Derkin and Scott Sherwood said they don’t plan on spending anywhere near the $600 allowed to them as executive director candidates. Both said they believe the key to a successful campaign is to get to know the students as much as possible over the next three weeks.

“I feel the best way (to campaign) is just to go to meetings and talk to students face to face,” Derkin said. “What good is a poster going to do if they don’t know who I am?”

Sherwood said his campaign will also focus on attending student organization meetings.

“I plan to get to know as many students as possible by going out of my way to meet them and talk with them,” he said.

Although senator and director candidates don’t plan on spending as much time networking as Derkin and Sherwood, many students can plan on seeing fliers and Facebook groups to promote candidacy.

A few Facebook groups for senator positions had already been created only hours after the official candidates meeting Thursday night.

As candidates plan to promote their platforms for the spring elections, USG adviser Donna Carlton asked them to keep a few things in mind.

“Although you can take down other students’ fliers or dump water on their chalk, I wish that you would respect each other and (your opponent’s) needs as well as yours,” Carlton said. “Think about the image you want to put out there.”

Contact student politics reporter Melissa Dilley at [email protected].