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Group reviews election policy

Megan Loney | Thursday, January 27, 2011

In preparation for upcoming elections, Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) reviewed election policies at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We [SGA] have to approve the election policies before we can publicize them to the student body,” student body president Rachael Chesley said.

All of the election policies and a list of violations will be available on the student government website.

Women’s Health and Wellness Commissioner Brianne Suckow said the grade point average (GPA) policy states that students running for office must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher at the time of election as stated in the official election policies.

“I think that it is important to demonstrate the importance of education, but some people during last year’s election mentioned how this made it difficult to find a running mate,” Suckow said. “I think it’s something to discuss.”

Student Diversity Board President Morgan Gay agreed, suggesting that the GPA minimum had the potential to exclude candidates, who, aside from their academic history, may have great leadership skills.

“I feel like there are a ton of great leaders out there, but this [GPA requirement] may be the only thing that is stopping them from running,” Gay said.

Other board members, including Technology Commissioner Laura Ruiz, said the 3.0 GPA stipulation was a standard to which those running for student government should adhere.

“Classes are hard. Saint Mary’s is demanding, but I think that as far as representing the best of the best, as student government should do, having a minimum 3.0 GPA is a good line to draw for a minimum,” Ruiz said. “We are supposed to represent the best.”

Chesley added statistics to the conversation regarding students at Saint Mary’s and GPAs that she had gathered from the registrar: the median GPA of Saint Mary’s students is 3.295, the mean or average GPA is 3.221, and the total number of students with a 3.0 or above GPA is over 1,000.

SGA passed a motion to maintain the 3.0 GPA requirement.

The group changed election policies to clarify that a student is not eligible to run for office if she is planning on studying abroad for a semester or academic year during her tenure in office.

Voting will take place Feb. 24 for SGA, Residence Hall Association (RHA), and Student Diversity Board (SDB). Voting for class boards will be March 3.

“One thing we were passionate about was making sure that the information for elections was open for all students, not just those who have had previous experience with student government,” Chesley said.