Scrambling for the approval of the university student body, four tickets will commence a campaign season that will require more than a cute t-shirt to ensure victory.
That was not the case last spring when Student Government President Lionel Moise was the sole candidate to run for office.
“I think last year was the anomaly in that we only had one person running, and this year is more normal since we have four people running to try and be president of the school,” said Matthew Robayna, chair of the elections commission. “People saw more opportunity this year to take a chance to run for president.”
At the forefront are policies for campaign graphics that each candidate must adhere to, which prohibits any advertising inside the Rathskeller or inside the Otto G. Richter Library.
Junior marketing and media management major Aaron Esman decided to run in September based on his participation in on-campus organizations such as SpectrUM. He and his platform have been preparing designs and strategies for several months that would stand out from the others.
“I do find [campaign regulations] necessary. It levels the playing field for everyone,” Esman said. “There are a lot of rules in place, but at the same time they are rules that should be pretty simple to follow. I don’t necessarily agree with every single one of them.”
Junior international finance, marketing and business law major Christina Farmer began the planning process in October with junior Valentina Lamas and junior Nick Cote by finding out students’ concerns. Farmer was a senator in Pearson Residential College during her freshman year and worked on both Brandon Gross’s and Lionel Moises’s campaigns. She is currently the Speaker of the Senate.
According to Robayna, the most frequent violations involve financial reports and graphic campaign material approval.
“The regulations always come from things that are necessary- you come up with a regulation because something happened to create that regulation,” Farmer said. “So I believe that all of them definitely have a place and should be looked at face value, and you should do what’s right for the campaign. Integrity is very important to me and important to my team that we follow the rules and that’s the way we want to win.”
Junior entrepreneurship major Shahzain Malik said that he has been preparing his campaign since he arrived from Pakistan three years ago.He was actively involved as Stanford College Council treasurer and was his high school’s student government president. He currently has a supporting team of 85 people.
Malik doesn’t agree with all of the regulations.
“There’s a yes and no to it- I agree you shouldn’t be campaigning around the voting booths, but the fact that you have to be covered if you’re walking across the UC, those small nit-picky things, I think that people should look at the bigger picture,” he said. “Someone is bound to mess up and make a sincere mistake, and I don’t feel like the entire ticket should be disqualified because of one person’s mistake.”
Junior political science major Mike DeMasco has gotten together with his running mate and campaign manager to map out what they intend to do to avoid violations that were discussed in a mandatory candidates meeting.
“They’re definitely necessary, maybe a bit overkill,” he said. “But there are just so many things that you can do during campaigning and they really cover everything. It’s actually a good thing.”
The general election takes place from Feb. 22-24 in the residential colleges and University Center Breezeway.
Robayna said that the number of violations depend on the campaign season.
“It honestly depends on how closely people campaigning follow the rules,” he said. “Sometimes it depends on how hard the tickets try to disqualify each other, but that doesn’t usually happen.”
Ironically enough, Robayna said that candidates themselves report violations.
“They want to be sure that their competitors are held at the same standard as they are,” he said. “Typically, the candidates self-enforce the rules.”
Feb. 15, 5-7 p.m.
-I-Lounge meet the candidates
Feb. 16, 12-1 p.m.
-Mahoney-Pearson meet the candidates
Feb. 17, 5-7 p.m.
Feb. 22 to 24
Ramon Galiana and Alexa Lopez contributed to this report.