New SGA Elections
New SGA Elections
The UMBC student body is presently represented by SGA officers who were either elected on less than 5% of the possible vote or were appointed to their positions by SGA officers elected on less than 5% of the possible vote. We, the signatories of this petition, recognize this as nothing less than a crisis in the organization.
We believe that the students of UMBC are entitled to nothing less than fair, free, and competitive elections and in this regard believe the SGA has failed to provide such. To this end we wish to express a desire and willingness to engage with the SGA to improve the process for the good of the entire campus.
The election scheduled from April 10th to the 16th has failed to encourage the participation needed to make it competitive, as three positions are running unopposed and two more are running with incredibly slim opposition. By virtue of this the candidates presently running are also unfairly being forced into a position wherein regardless of their merit as candidates they may be seen as “illegitimate” as they were never truly able to compete for their position.
The above mentioned election has further failed to maintain a norm of fairness for all candidates, having disproportionately targeted and disqualified candidates with histories critical of university administration and the SGA while upholding candidates with preexisting histories within the SGA, either intentionally or through unfortunate accident.
Lastly, the above mentioned election has failed to ensure free participation in the electoral process by disallowing support for candidates outside of the extremely limited scope provided by the approved candidates. As such, candidates running unopposed cannot be challenged at the ballot box, making the election little more than dressing for their inevitable appointment.
Ultimately, the intention of this petition is to express the fact that we, the constituent members of the SGA, have lost faith in the election. As such we wish to express the need for a new election to be planned and scheduled for the end of April or beginning of May, which will allow for a larger body of candidates and a more fair election.
Whereas, the SGA Election Policy guiding document lays out three guiding objectives upon which the legitimacy of SGA elections are based,
And whereas, the below signed have found the election scheduled to take place between April 10th and April 16th to be in contempt of Objectives 1 and 2 by failing to “maximize vote turnout” or to “ensure fairness and equity for candidates and voters,” and
Concerned, by the lack of competition for positions with responsibilities to represent the entirety of the student body, and
Deploring, the inability to vote against candidates running unopposed in those positions either by means of a write in vote or a vote of no confidence,
And whereas, all other means of appeal to redress these grievances have been exhausted, and
Mindful, of Section 1.1 of the SGA Constitution which affirms all undergraduate students as members of the SGA deserving the respect and recognition as such, and
Fulfilling, the requirements of Section 6.2 of the SGA Constitution regarding the right to file a petition for a resolution to address these grievances, and
Acknowledging, the strained relationship between the SGA and its constituent members, and
Further acknowledging, the need for mutual respect and good faith between the SGA and its constituent members to ease this strain, and
Seeking, by this petition to establish a more healthy climate on campus and an SGA truly representative of its constituents:
Let it be so advised, that the student body has lost faith in the election scheduled to take place between April 10th and April 16th necessitating a special election to be held in its place in accordance with Section 3.2.2 of the SGA Bylaws as soon as is reasonable but no later than May 14th, 2019;
Let it be further advised, that the SGA President in accordance with SGA Bylaws must forward this petition to the Speakers for the SGA Senate and SGA Finance Board as well as to the Election Board Chair as soon as possible;
Let it be resolved, that failure to follow the above resolutions shall result in the addition of the following yes-or-no question to the next election, in accordance to Section 6.2 of the SGA Constitution: “Do you support the UMBC Student Government Association?”;
Let it be further resolved, that in addition to the above resolutions this petition shall add the following amendments to the SGA Constitution in accordance with Article 7 of the SGA Constitution:
“5.2.1. -- General Elections
All Representatives, Senators, the President and the Executive Vice President, the Vice President for Student Organizations and the Treasurer will be elected annually during the spring semester as outlined in the Election Policy. The President and Executive Vice President shall be elected as a ticket; all other officials shall be elected individually. Any such election must achieve a turnout rate of at least 5% of UMBC undergraduates, failure to do so must result in a Special Election.”
“5.3. Eligibility Requirements
In order to be eligible to hold elected SGA offices, or appointed offices for which a stipend is provided and/or the officer is responsible for supervising other appointed officers, an individual must be a UMBC undergraduate, have at least a cumulative 2.25 GPA, maintain at least a 2.25 semester GPA while in office, and neither be on academic probation nor under disciplinary suspension (whether in effect, imposed for a future time period or held in abeyance). For the offices of President, Executive Vice President, Vice President for Student Organizations and Treasurer, an individual must have at least a cumulative 2.5 GPA, and have completed 24 total credits, and 12 credits at UMBC, and maintain at least a 2.5 semester GPA while in office, and must secure the vote of at least 5% of UMBC undergraduates. Additionally, all Senate and Representatives must adhere to the attendance requirements determined by their respective legislative body and as outlined in each respective body’s procedural rules to maintain eligibility.”