BEC handbook changes restrict campaigning in res halls

The changes also include a stricter infraction policy.
The newly appointed Board of Elections Commissioners, Xavier Billingsley, Logan Borgsmiller and Jacob Sloan present the new BEC handbook to the new Missouri Student Association Senate on Wednesday in Chamber Auditorium. The most prominent change restricted campaigning within Residential Life.

The Missouri Students Association passed the updated Board of Elections Commissioners handbook during Wednesday evening’s full Senate.

The updated BEC handbook changes the way candidates are able to campaign on campus, especially within Residential Life. MSA presidential candidates must abide by all regulations and limitations stated in the handbook as well as the MSA bylaws during the campaigning process.

“We decided to remove campaigning from Residential Life except in certain circumstances,” BEC Chairman Jacob Sloan said.

Candidates can no longer campaign in residence halls without limitations but are allowed to use any connections they might have within Residential Life in order to gain access during residence hall staff meetings and peer associate-run floor meetings.

“Campaigning in the residential halls is an easy and vital way to get in touch with the freshman constituents,” MSA Senate Speaker Evan Wood said. “The freshmen are usually the most engaged (during the election).”

Candidates will be able to speak with peer associates as well as community advisors and hall coordinators to gain speech access during floor and staff meetings.

During staff meetings, candidates may host an open forum or debate.

“Res hall campaigning could be a useful tool if candidates decided to use it,” former BEC Chairman Dan Kelley said in an e-mail. “In the past three years, it has not been utilized very much, probably because candidates usually cannot reach a large amount of people in a given meeting or event.”

During the campaigning process, at least one debate will be hosted by the BEC.

“I do think there should be more debates,” Wood said. “There are a myriad of issues being discussed. BEC only sponsoring one debate is on the low side.”

BEC is working on increasing the amount of debates, Sloan said. No official number of debates has been confirmed.

The increase in debates creates more opportunities for the campus to get involved in elections, Wood said.

Four Front and The Maneater will also sponsor debates during the campaigning process.

Kelley said he thinks scheduling multiple debates might be hard on candidates.

“Typically, candidates are very busy throughout the semester trying to balance campaigning and school work,” Kelley said.

The BEC handbook’s infractions and penalties have been updated as well and will no longer work on a three-strike system.

Punishments for negligent infractions run on four levels of violations. The first violation will result in warning from the BEC, the second and third incur two levels of fines and the fourth violation will be considered intentional and result in a candidate losing the privilege of campaigning for one week, according to the BEC handbook.

“If we set punishments for violations of the BEC handbook more strict, then we feel that candidates are less likely to commit infractions in the first place,” Sloan said. “We will also work to communicate effectively with the candidates in order to prevent infractions from being committed.”

The candidate will be expelled from the election after his or her second intentional offense.

“Regardless of what all the rules and policies are, it is important that the BEC stands by those rules and enforces them consistently and properly,” Kelley said.

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