Election process could be changed

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November 29, 2010

11:07 PM

The Honor Council Election Task Force released a memo Friday with hopes of changing the Honor Council’s election process, which has been under debate in recent months.

The Honor Council’s election process has not been amended in many years. Although the Election Task Force has worked to reform the election process since last spring, the recommendations cannot be implemented until the full Honor Council votes on them.

According to Honor Council Election Task Force Vice Chair Skyler Halbritter ’11, the Honor Council has received complaints about its election process in recent years.

Campus organizations, publications, the Student Assembly and individuals have questioned the election’s transparency, the authority of the Nominating Committee and the election’s role as a popularity contest, Halbritter said.

“The Student Assembly has been indirectly encouraging the Honor Council to change their elections process for a while now,” Chair of the SA senate and SA Honor Council Election Task Force representative Stefani Felitto ’12 said. “I look forward to the rest of this process; this is just the beginning.”

Internally, some members of the Honor Council voiced similar concerns, saying that the election process needed to be amended.

“I think it is healthy to question your practices as an organization and make sure they serve the student body well,” Halbritter said.

The memo’s revisions to the election process focus on the academic and personal qualities of all candidates, as well as the logistics of the election process.

The Honor Council hopes to raise the academic bar for all candidates. Any student who wishes to run for Honor Council must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

This standard is similar to that of other student programs, such as the Orientation Program and student athletics.

Currently, an Honor Code violation, student conduct violation or Medical Amnesty incident inhibits a student running for Honor Council; a 5/6 vote of the Nominating Committee is the only way around this standard. Although the 5/6 voting rule would still be in effect, the new amendment would give the student the opportunity to explain to the Nominating Committee why he or she should be allowed to run for office.

“An applicant may be considered for exclusion if the incident causes substantial concern in a student’s ability to exercise good judgment, handle responsibility, follows the standards of our community or displays a disturbing pattern of behavior,” the memo states.

In the past, an overabundance of freshmen would run for the class’s eight Honor Council seats, leaving voters overwhelmed and uninformed about each candidate’s message. If implemented, the ballot will be limited to a maximum of 16 candidates per social class.

In the instance that more than 16 candidates from a single social class run for office, the Elections Committee will hold interviews with each candidate in order to evaluate such qualities that cannot be expressed on the normally accepted written application.

To eliminate the issue of students feeling uninformed about Honor Council candidates, additional information will be published on the Honor Council’s website.

Discussion of the amendments will take place Dec. 5. The Council will vote to finalize the changes Dec. 12.

“These solutions may not be perfect, but the Task Force views them as an improvement upon the current system and hopes that these processes will continually be reviewed and amended as necessary,” Halbritter said.

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