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Pacer contests election procedure

Enrollment numbers provided to The Pacer indicate that the college of Business and Public Affairs (CBPA) may have been allotted an extra seat, against the guidelines in the SGA By-laws.

Steve Lemond, IT Administrator II and in charge of running the query against student records, delivered a computer file for use in electronic voting with the enrollment of CBPA as 1,224.

Section 2, article B of the by-laws states that "One Senator shall be elected for every 300 students enrolled in each school, with a guaranteed minimum of at least one Senator for each school."

"In the event that a school's enrollment increases to that of 151 students exceeding the stated Senator to Student ratio, said school shall receive one additional Senate seat at the next election."

However, the number of 300, as reported on the SGA's web site, has been debated as to whether or not it had been changed to 250 during a senate meeting.

"I'd like to know that myself," Sen. Dusty Dean said of the adjustment.

The Pacer filed a formal challenge to the general elections on Tuesday afternoon on another suspected breach of the constitution.

See related story: Pacer challenges election results

The number of seats in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts (CHFA) had been adjusted from five vacancies to three without official notice to the candidates or to student media outlets.

Representatives for Kevin Teets also filed a candidate challenge to the election results for similar reasons.

An emergency session of the Procedures Committee deliberated for three hours on what recommendations would be made to the Senate to address the issues.

The committee presented two options for the Senate to consider: raise the number to five, skewing the number allotted by the constitution, or to let the number stand at three.

Despite these challenges, and emergency session of the Senate decided to leave the results as they stand with three members in the CHFA.

In effect, students in the Bachelor of Undergraduate Studies (B.U.S. degree) program will not be represented next year by senate seats, nor would students listed in the "No College Designated" group.

Dr. Katherine High, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, said that these groups of students would not be eligible to participate in SGA elections because, as she understood, they are not required to pay the same fees as other students.

"If they don't pay the Student Activities Fee, they don't vote," High said in an interview Thursday afternoon.

"These people are spread out all over the country," High said. "Finding someone to represent them would be a little tricky."

"There may be two or three here on campus, but most are taking a course or two, they're working, and have kids," High said. "They were worried about getting access to the library and access to be advised."

High said that at the Selmer extended campus, approximately two hundred full-time students expressed interest in participating in activities, and being represented in the SGA.

Steve Vantrease, University Center director and SGA adviser said that the SGA had in fact made mistakes.

"Our responsibility was not met," Vantrease said. "However, I do not think that there has neen an intentional injustice to the students."

Former Elections Commissioner and now Senator-elect Joey Pierce felt the that outcome of the meeting was the best option.

"I think it very important to note that SGA acknowledges that there were mishaps during this election," Pierce said. "I thought that staying with the current results would be the easiest for the students and SGA."

Sen. Jennifer Ogg was the only senator opposed to letting the results stand.

Liz Craig, Procedures Chair and chair for the newly founded Toga Party said that election reform would be one of the top priorities of the new senate.