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Leaders approve election changes

Joseph McMahon | Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Council of Representatives reviewed the success of the College Readership program and approved two new changes in student government election oversight procedures during its meeting Tuesday.

The Council unanimously approved the new executive election committee, which will be comprised of eight members and investigate any allegations of unfair campaigning in the upcoming student body president elections.

“I am confident that this group will effectively discuss and debate election allegations and [determine] appropriate sanctions and/or penalties, if a hearing arises,” Judicial Council president Ashley Weiss said in a letter to the Council.

In addition to Weiss and vice president of Elections Danny Smith, the committee will be comprised of four Judicial Council dorm representatives: junior Tom Kingsbury (Alumni) and sophomores Joe Maciuba (O’Neill), Libby Bierman (Lyons) and Monserrat Miramontes (Pangborn). Weiss appointed the remaining two members – senior Anthony Dayrit, vice president of the Peer Advocacy program, and junior Luke Derheimer.

Derheimer was also approved as the new controller of voter turnout, whose duties will include encouraging students to get more involved in campus elections through the “Rock the Vote” campaign. Weiss nominated him for the position, pointing to his “extensive experience in the election proceedings, having served as a senator in last year’s election.”

Weiss felt that it was necessary to appoint Derheimer because Weiss’ duties as Judicial Council president would make it difficult for her to effectively lead “Rock the Vote.”

Derheimer said his major task will be executing the proposals already set forth by Weiss and Smith. For example, he is charged with organizing the meet-and-greet with the candidates and the candidate debates.

The Council also reviewed the College Readership program, which provides students with free copies of USA Today, The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Carol Hendrickson, the chair of Academic Affairs, said she was very pleased with the response the program has received this year.

“Consumption rates are in the high 80 percent all across campus,” she said. “This year we’ve been really happy with the program because we’ve been able to find the right amount and the right papers [to distribute].”

Although Hendrickson often requests a certain amount of papers, USA Today (which runs the program) will often use its own figures to determine how many to deliver, she said. Student body president Liz Brown explained that the contract is written in such a way that USA Today has the freedom to use its own analysis to determine the quantities it should deliver to campus.

However, because this has not caused the program to exceed its budget and readership is currently strong, Hendrickson has seen no major reason to complain.

Moreover, the program has seen a major success in its recent expansion to the Mendoza College of Business and the Hesburgh Library.

“We’ve been targeting more people,” Hendrickson said. “The success at Mendoza and the Library really shows more people are reading.”

The Council also unanimously approved sophomore Caitlin Flynn as its new secretary.