Disagreements on structure of voting derails discussion

Lively debate brings more questions than answers


Photo by Ryan Alme

Story by Glen Olson, Chief Copy Editor

Student Senate will vote on a bill that would move campus-wide Senate elections to an online format like Qualtrics surveys, after an hour-long discussion during its meeting Monday.

Early in the discussion, senators said the plan to hold elections online was promising

Information and Technology director Christian Paese said he was confident Senate could safeguard fair elections.

Senator Ben Thompson Isaac said he thought the move to online would be convenient for students and possibly bring higher turnout.

“Any way to make this as simple as possible, and as streamlined for students as possible is a good thing,” Thompson Isaac said.

Disagreement emerged when senators mentioned voting could be swayed by campaigning, since students could cast votes on any personal device or computer station on campus.

If elections don’t move online, ballots would likely have to be counted by hand.

An amendment introduced March 2 from Student Body President Sam Fish and Senate Parliamentarian Karissa Mueller prohibited personal campaigning within any computer labs or 20 feet of a fixed computer station.

Fish said creating a structure for the PR commission to advertise the election without breaking their own bylaws was one of the major reasons for tabling the bill until next week.

“If someone has a smartphone, or a personal computer, at what point can we not campaign?” Fish said. “We have to figure out some way to navigate that whole situation.”

Fish said that the structure was not clear enough, and discouraged Senators from voting for the bill.

“Nothing that in place would make this perfect before we know what it looks like,” Fish said. “Nothing we could do could predict every situation that could arise. We can take a long look at how to rectify those problems and fix the bylaws accordingly.”


Senate tabled a resolution in support of changes to the UW System’s language dealing with violence and sexual assault, after an unclear introduction Monday.

The changes would bring the System’s documents in line with federal regulations on the subject, mostly changing the way the rights victims and the accused accused are maintained throughout the process and appeals.

The resolution would show the Senate’s support for those changes, and add to other school’s governments support, and is moving through the System regardless. Senators said in open forum they did not feel properly able to understand what was being changed.

Next week’s meeting will include a presentation by Dean of Students Joseph Abhold on the subject and the changes being made.

Senate approved the organization constitution for the Community Cares Allies, and introduced a constitution for the English Ambassadors to be approved after discussion next week.