October 16, 2018 | ° F

Student vote imperative in RUSA elections


Commentary


Hello Scarlet Knights, my name is Ian Wolf, and I am your elections chair for the Rutgers University Student Assembly, the undergraduate student government for Rutgers University.

You may or may not have received annoying mass emails from me about the RUSA elections reminding you to vote. You may or may not have been messaged on Sakai, myRutgers and the Rutgers Computing Website. Let me explain the ballot to you and why you as a Rutgers student should actually care.

Over the last couple of weeks, RUSA has been a major feature of The Daily Targum for elections and for town halls that we have hosted. We are trying to make a difference on campus, and we need student support to achieve this goal. Over the last year, RUSA has helped move dining halls closing hours back from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. RUSA has worked with administrators to make textbooks more accessible to students. RUSA has conducted the “What’s On Your Mind” survey and subsequent report to identify areas that students would like to see the student government work on in the upcoming semesters.

As always, it is the responsibility of students to decide who they want to represent them. Civic engagement starts with voting, and it is extremely important to be an informed voter. To learn more about the elections, you should visit the student government website at www.ruassembly.com. The Elections Central tab has all you need to know! The voting period this year will be three days, or 72 hours. Voting started at midnight on Sunday April 6 and will conclude on Tuesday April 8 at 11:59 p.m. Students can cast their ballot online at bitballot.com/login/102/.

Now let me break down some of the different things that students will see on the ballot. First, when a student logs on to vote, they will be prompted to vote in the University Wide Ballot. This ballot consists of three referendum questions and elections for the following positions: president, vice president, treasurer, and seven School of Arts and Science Senate seats. All three of these referendum questions need 10 percent of the undergraduate student population to vote in order to be representative of the student population. Help RUSA reach that 10 percent.

After completing the University Wide ballot, students will be directed to a list of six other ballots. Each campus has a ballot — the sixth is the off-campus ballot. In this ballot, students will be able to select their class representative and campus senator. Please be aware that a student can vote for any campus ballot — it does not need to be the one they live on, but they can only vote for one campus ballot.

The first referendum question concerns the ratification of an updated version of the RUSA constitution. Some of the changes to this proposed constitution include the restructuring of campus councils to campus caucuses, the combination of the secretary roles and the addition of five representative positions to make up for the lost seats in the University Senate.

The second referendum question is whether or not students want to increase the student fee $2.50 per semester to pay for the dues to the New Jersey United Students (NJUS). More information about this state organization can be found here, www.njstudents.org. It should be mentioned that only first years, sophomores, and juniors can vote for these questions, as seniors will never be paying this student fee in this format again. If approved, this fee increase would need to be approved by the Board of Governors and the Rutgers Business Offices.

The third referendum question is very similar to the second. It is whether or not students want to increase the student fee $1.00 per semester to pay for dues to the United States Student Association (USSA). More information about this national organization can be found here, www.usstudents.org. This question has the same stipulations for who can vote and the approval of the Board of Governors as the second referendum question.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the elections or the student government in general please email rusa.elections@gmail.com. Be a part of the process — it’s your right and, moreover, your responsibility.

 

Ian Wolf is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in history/political science and sociology.


By Ian Wolf

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