SA holds info session for candidates


By Jessie Kern

DeKALB — Students will elect Student Assocation executive members at the end of March and candidates are preparing themselves for their upcoming campaigns.

Deputy Elections Commissioner Igli Velcani addressed candidates during an informational meeting Wednesday in the Campus Life Building. Velcani covered pertinent information for those running, like candidate requirements and campaigning policies, as well as sanctions and election day guidelines.

Velcani said the first requirement to run is to attend one candidate meeting. Other requirements include being a full-time, fee-paying student in good standing with the university.

“You guys are probably some of the best leaders this school has, so that should not apply,” Velcani said. “If you are in a bad academic or conduct status with the university, you probably should not be here.”

The last meeting will be offered at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Campus Life Building, Room 100.

Candidates are expected to fill out a campaign finance report form because senate and executive positions have different expectations for reporting on campaign spending and requirements for their petitions.

Velcani said candidates running for senate have to report once spending exceeds $25 and need to obtain 50 signatures. Executive candidates must report once spending exceeds $50 and need 400 signatures to qualify.

“All candidates cannot exceed more than $2,500,” Velcani. “If you exceed more than $2,500 good for you, but you can’t do that. That’s way too much,” Velcani said.

Student organizations can sponsor candidates, Velcani said. Candidates need to report what the organization provided them with so the Student Association can monitor spending to assure no candidate exceeds the $2,500 limit.

Senators represent different districts and act as the voice of the students in their district. Student leaders in executive positions represent the entire student body rather than a specific district, according to an infromational sheet given out at the meeting.

District one is made up of students living in residence halls and other university provided housing and district two classifies the areas West of Annie Glidden Road and South of IL38 within DeKalb city limits.

Velcani said districts three and four are made up of Greek row, and district five represents commuter students.

The board of elections will be held responsible for making judgement calls and voting to disqualify candidates.

The 2018 board of elections consists of Iggy Domingo, Erin Hernandez, Kristina Harvel and Jack Barth, with Stephanie Torres serving as the elected chairperson.

Velcani said the board of elections can disqualify a candidate before, during or after the election with a three-fifths vote, based on the candidate’s violations or sanctions.

“Sanctions may be imposed for violations by candidates or persons campaigning on their behalf, even if that candidate does not have specific knowledge of the person acting on their behalf,” Velcani said.

The 2018 election commissioner Anthony Baca is responsible for duties like issuing sanctions and approving campaigning materials.

“Any sanctions issued by the election commissioner may be appealed to the board of elections,” Velcani said. “Appeals must be filed within 24 hours of the election commissioner’s decision, and the board of elections must rule within two days of the appeal.”

Velcani said candidates can campaign as a ticket with members of their respective branch, and those choosing to campaign as a ticket will be held responsible for the actions of the members on their ticket.

“So let’s say us four are on the same ticket, if one of us gets a violation, all four of us get a violation because we’re on that same ticket campaigning,” Velcani said. “So you’ve got to be careful who you’re going to ticket with.”

Velcani said candidates with campaign managers and people campaigning on their behalf must report them to the election commissioner and will also be held responsible for the actions of those individuals.

Campaign materials are not allowed if it might deface or damage property, and Velcani said this includes things like putting stickers on buildings and walls when they leave markings.

“Excessive littering is included [as] defamation of property,” Velcani said. “For example, at Barsema, if you or personnel take a bunch of flyers and just throw them so people can grab them and see them, or leaving a bunch of flyers on a table, you cannot do that.”

Velcani said all campaigning materials to be posted on campus have to be approved first by the election commissioner and then by Student Involvement and Leadership Development, but materials for handing out, like business cards and flyers, only need the approval of the election commissioner.

Sophomore marketing major Victor Owoeye said he has always been compelled to run for student government even before his coming to NIU. He said he plans to run for president.

Owoeye said he has come to understand the importance of leadership positions, and in his two years on campus, he has realized the lack of commitment these positions have been given.

“I’ve done research and seen that people kind of don’t adhere to the things that they say they’re going to do,” Owoeye said.

Graduate student Melanie Sandoval, who is running for Student Trustee, said she has been involved with the Student Association for many years.. She has served as a Senator and was the previous director and said there has been a pattern in student leadership.

“We just want to see our, for example, student trustee being more proactive in speaking and backing up our students, and it hasn’t been done, so I think it’s time that we get the people that are going to be able to make that change in these positions,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval said SA controls a budget of about $1.6 million, and students don’t always realize how much authority the organization has.

“As students, we don’t realize that we vote these people to allocate these fundings, to allocate what organizations get approved, to allocate who is allowed on our campus, to allocate the changes that are being passed,” Sandoval said.

Owoeye, who is the vice president of the Black Student Union, said within the black community he’s had a voice that captures people and has done something positive. Owoeye also said all students deserve a leader who will do more for the students and not just take a position.

“I feel like when you don’t vote it’s not coming from not wanting to vote,” Owoeye said. “I think it’s more so from you not being educated on why voting is important, what you’re voting for and what your vote actually means as a person and as a constituent of a certain administration or community.”

Sandoval said it’s important for students to vote and to be informed voters by looking into the stances candidates take on different topics, the previous positions candidates have held and what they accomplished within those positions.

“I think it’s time to start, as students, holding student leaders accountable for what they are promising us,” Sandoval said.