Low participation hinders University council elections


\The polls opened yesterday at midnight for direct elections of University campus, governing and college councils members, and will continue until Thursday at 11:59 p.m.

The candidates have been petitioning since April 1, and began active campaigning April 9. The only councils not included in Rutgers University Student Assembly elections are the Pharmacy Governing Council, Rutgers Business Association and the Mason Gross Student Government Association.

"It is important [that students vote] because these men and women will be their elected student leaders who can allocate to certain funds and student fees as well as in charge of student government," said RUSA Chair Chris Keating, a Rutgers College senior.

In order to run for the presidential and vice presidential position of the various councils, every candidate had to obtain 200 signatures with a campaign budget of $75 each, according to the Spring 2009 Governing Councils Election Packet.

University College Council candidates had to earn 125 signatures and the Engineering Governing Council presidential candidates had to get 100, both on the same budget.

Students who go to vote at rusa.rutgers.edu will see that many of the candidates for president are uncontested, but Chair of the RUSA Elections Committee Christine Esposito said students should still get involved.

"It's upsetting there aren't more contested positions," said Esposito, a Douglass College senior. "It's an advertising thing. It is hard to reach out to students and a lot of them are intimidated by student government."

This should not be the case, she said.

"Students who are serious about student government should write their names in on the [online] ballot and tell their friends to write them in, too," Esposito said.

She said besides writing in a name, students should contact their current council presidents, who are listed on the Web site.

Students who write-in must still comply with the rules of fair play and guidelines, but need not apply with the elections committee, according to the packet.

A full list of guidelines is available at the site.

The results for the council elections will be announced Friday at 6 p.m. on the RUSA Web site, according to the packet.

Because the voting majority of two-thirds was not present to vote on the proposed constitution and the old document is still applicable, these are the only direct elections for student government positions for the next school year. After this, the elected council members will vote for in body members of the assembly and then the RUSA members will vote on the executive board.

"I'm very disappointed that there aren't more people up for election [on the councils] this year," Keating said. "Many students made it very clear that they wanted to do something about student government. If someone feels they are better [for the position] than someone running, I encourage them to write-in. We want as much conversation at RUSA as possible."

For more information about voting visit rusa.rutgers.edu. A link to the ballot can be found on the site.


Sara Gretina

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