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Senate decides on budget cap for student elections

Unlike previous years, students running for elected positions with Weber State University’s Student Involvement and Leadership program this year will have an election budget cap.

The WSU student senate passed a bill Monday that states 40 percent of the tuition waiver will be the cap for executive positions and 25 percent for people running for the student senate.

The senators put off the vote multiple times in the senate meetings because they wanted to discuss the cap more.

“We went through a pretty meaty process of refining and making sure that it said the right thing and in the right way,” said Kimberly Tribe, the College of Education senator. “We didn’t want to make it 50 percent or more, because then it seemed like it negated the waiver.”

Once the discussion was over, the vote was unanimous. Tribe said the senate decided on the budget because it was the average amount previous candidates said they spent.

In a previous meeting, other members of the Student Involvement and Leadership Office expressed their concern about the election budget restricting donations. The senate decided that when a candidate receives donations, the cost of donations at fair market value will be deducted from the budget. The elections committee decides the fair market value, and whether all the other candidates can receive the same discount or not.

The candidates are responsible for keeping track of how much money they spend and keeping their receipts. If someone files a grievance or if something looks suspicious, the elections committee can go through and check the receipts.

“Once you’re elected in an executive branch or senate office, you have a budget, and you have to control what comes in and what goes out, and you have to provide documentation and receipts,” said Viviana Felix, the Hispanic students senator. “The whole that they have to be responsible for how much they spend and what donations they receive goes hand in hand with preparing them for that position.”

The elections committee decides on sanctions. If someone were to go over the budget, the penalty may include deduction of votes or the candidate having to take down some of his or her signs to compensate for going over the budget.

Tribe said she thinks this will lead to more people running for the position.

“I think it kind of gives it a fair playing field,” Tribe said. “You know someone isn’t going to rush in and buy everyone’s vote. They aren’t going to be handing out iPads to everyone who votes for them.”

The senate also voted on a standardization of the school fight song in the meeting on Monday. Before, admissions, athletics, cheerleaders and Student Involvement and Leadership used five different versions of the song.

Tribe said the decision to standardize the song sprung from confusion when singing the fight song at athletic events. The versions were similar, but a few words were different.

“From the minute someone comes up on campus as a freshman, they will sing the same song,” said Brady Harris, the legislative vice president, about the new standardized song. “It will take a couple of years for everyone to learn the new song.”

Harris said they picked a song similar to the one freshmen learn when they first come to campus. The senate is thinking about buying a banner to put in the Dee Events Center that will have the fight song written on it. The senate will also put the new song on the back of the newsletters it sends out.

“It’s a unity thing,” Tribe said. “It’s one more thing that when we are together and we are singing at games or at events or what not, it shows that we are unified and are of one purpose and one body, even though we are such a diverse population here at Weber State. We are unified in our love of Weber State.”

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