Student Senate OKs revisions to election code

Published: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 11:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 11:31 p.m.

Reversing a previous Student Senate decision, the University of Florida Student Senate passed the Election Code Revision Act on second reading Tuesday night that restored the words “on university property” to a line about door-to-door campaigning in campus elections.

The decision is designed to make it easier to campaign door to door off campus in UF elections, but it still restricts door-to-door campaigning on campus.

The Senate also voted to define the word “benefits” in the Election Code so that it’s clearer what benefits student government representatives have. Also the Senate voted to set guidelines for what constitutes an independent candidate running for office in SG elections.

Sen. Kevin Kleponis proposed the amendment to reverse the previous vote to strike the phrase “on university property” from the election code revisions.

“This is a violation of the United States Constitution First Amendment right to free speech,” Kleponis said. “Going door to door and campaigning is a peaceful expression of those views. Anything contrary to that is a violation of those views.”

The amendment was approved by unanimous consent.

In other action, a resolution honoring and remembering the victims of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti also passed without objection. The earthquake affected over 2 million people, including the families of many University of Florida students.

Student Body President Ashton Charles urged senators to attend the awareness events and fundraisers put on by Gators for Haiti this week. A candlelight vigil will be held in the Reitz Union Amphitheatre Wednesday starting at 7:15 p.m.

A benefit 5K race will also be held on Saturday. Registration is open on until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday and will also be accepted in person the day of the race, starting at 7 a.m.

Charles also said that Student Government has approved Transportation Access Fee dollars, which will go toward RTS tracking systems and the extension of Later Gator bus routes.

Charles said SG is also speaking with Microsoft in hopes of allowing students free access to Microsoft software, while allowing upgrades for Gator graduates.

In other action, funding for two university groups – Doctors Without Borders and Gator Anime – was approved. Doctors Without Borders, an organization that emphasizes awareness of health issues in the UF community, will receive $1,325 to promote a February 5K event.

Gator Anime will receive $485 for a table banner and 36 Manga books that the group will donate to the University of Florida libraries after their use.

Meanwhile, a moment of silence was observed after a resolution was passed honoring the Fall 2010 Fallen Gators: Saleha Huuda, Jacob L. Snyder and Devon Richbell.

A resolution specifically honoring Saleha Huudda, a UF student who was killed during Winter Break, also passed.

Next Tuesday’s Senate meeting will be a joint meeting with Student Government in the Reitz Union auditorium at 7 p.m.

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