Student Association elections are in less than a week, but a string of missed opportunities to publicize the ballot has left most students in the dark.
The SA ballot, which, in addition to executive board elections, includes referendums to change the title of the vice president for multicultural affairs position and add $3 to the student activity fee, will be put to a student vote on March 20.
Out of 34 students polled in Glenn G. Bartle Library on Thursday, though, 29 could not name the two referendums on the ballot, and 18 people did not know where to look for more information.
One student, when asked about the referendums, responded, “I don’t even know who the candidates are.”
To be in accordance with SA bylaws, the Elections Committee must post the candidate names and ballot referendums on SA-Line and inside campus buildings — including every residence hall — at least one week prior to the elections.
But Teddy Gyamfi, the chair of the Elections Committee, whose primary responsibility is to oversee the elections, failed to do either.
Tuesday’s SA-Line encouraged students to attend sweeps, a forum for students to hear candidates‘ explain their platforms, but omitted the date and time they would take place, as well as the candidate names.
“That was my mistake,” Gyamfi told Pipe Dream.
And when Jon Ganzarski, a senior majoring in geography, asked the committee for a list of candidates later that afternoon, Gyamfi’s response did not include the names, instead saying they would be available at sweeps, while once again omitting the time they would take place.
“Given that the nomination/letter of intent period was closed, I couldn’t see a reason not to give me the answer,” Ganzarski said.
Gyamfi said that both the date and time were available on B-line.
Gryamfi added that he was planning to postpone hanging flyers until Friday when he could print a new batch without the name of a student who withdrew his candidacy. However, after receiving an email from Pipe Dream on Thursday, he decided to use the original fliers despite their inclusion of the student’s name.
Although Gyamfi expects his oversight will have little effect on the outcome of the election, Derrick Conyers, a transfer student running for vice president for academic affairs, said it will hurt candidates who are newer to the University.
Conyers, a junior, said an older, non-transfer student would likely know more of the student body a younger competitor, and thus would not rely as heavily on his or her name being published.
“Way more people know that senior, compared to that sophomore, for instance,” said Conyers, who is double-majoring in political science and philosophy, politics and law.
But Samson Widerman, a candidate for executive vice president, disagreed.
Widerman said candidates should rely more on their campaigning than SA-Line or SA flyers for publicity.
“It’s in the bylaws, it’s a technical thing,” Widerman said. “But really, the candidates are responsible themselves for getting their name out there.”
He added that voter turnout will be high regardless, because the elections will be held online for the first time.