After a year of complete reform and road blocks, it is election season for UW-Milwaukee’s Student Association (SA). Students will be able to vote for their elected members under the SA’s new constitution starting April 15.
Election put into context
During May of last year, a third party investigation found fraud during the SA election. Because of these results, Chancellor Lovell declared he and the Board of Regents would not recognize the election as valid.
The Board of Regents moved to create the Board of Trustee’s(BOT) to be this years substitute for the SA. Students who tried to run in the botched election were invited the to be a part of this new organization.
The BOT’s job, along with the University Student Court, was to draft a new constitution during the 2013 summer and fall semester . The goal was to create a more transparent, friendly, and successful Student Association.
After their new constitution was drafted, some problems from the previous year arose again. Two former members of the SA filed a complaint in the Milwaukee court system against UWM’s Board of Regents for not recognizing the election. The students stated that it was against Wis. statute 36.09, Wisconsin’s state law about shared governance between staff and students.
A judge later dismissed the case, allowing the BOT to move forward and pass their constitution.
The BOT approved their new constitution with 15 votes, 2 members voting against it. The BOT then created a referendum for the constitution to be voted on by the entire student body. During the week long vote for the referendum, 301 students voted equaling 1% of the student body, 80% voting in favor.
Leading up to the Election
One change in this years election from the new constitution is the elimination of political parties. The BOT hopes that the measure would help squash previous problems that arose during elections. The constitution also now makes a more clear distinction between the SA and the Independent Elections Committee (IEC).
As much has changed and advanced for the SA, they still receive little recognition on campus as reported by PantherVision in March. The SA has tried to make a more popular name for themselves, but have shown little improvement in this years ballot.
The SA senate, which has room for 40 students, only has 21 students on their ballot. Current BOT executive member Ari Stone is running unopposed for Vice-President of student affairs.
“There’s part of me that is really grateful” Stone said. “I think though it is indicative of the fixing [the SA] need(s) to do. I think the three biggest candidates should have multiple people running. I think in democracy it’s important to have choices.”
Polls open for voting April 15 and close 11:59 on April 17. Students will be able to vote via email or at polling stations open 10a.m..- 5p.m. on campus during the three days.