Process for choosing new SA Co-Presidents begins, with a raft of rules and scant attendance from potential candidates

Managing Editor Steve Hind (and seven other RCs) attended the first information session for people interested in running to be the 2015-16 Student Association Co-Presidents.

This afternoon, the SA executive team held its first information session for those interested in running to be Co-Presidents of the SA for 2015-16. However, just seven potential candidates (only one of whom was a woman) were present to listen to the current Co-Presidents share their perspectives on the role, and to hear about the strict regulations that will govern the election.

Six members of the current SA executive team, including Co-Presidents Linda Li and Nonso Maduka, were present and offered candid and useful insights on what potential candidates could expect if elected. Mike Murphy, Associate Director of MBA Student & Academic services, was also present, but left the room when the students were asked about relations with the Administration, so as to avoid the appearance that his presence affected their answers.

Prospective candidates for Co-President need to declare their candidacy in early February.

From that point until the election on February 18, candidates will be governed by a strict set of regulations, though it remains to be seen whether breaches of the regulations will be punished.

This year, candidates will be limited to a position paper and a recorded video, which will be shared with students in the week prior to the election. In addition they may place one 17” by 11” poster in each Aldrich classroom, and nowhere else. Students will not be allowed to ‘spam’ email lists or Facebook groups, and will be expected to ‘discourage’ their friends from doing so on their behalf.

It was unclear from the meeting what the precise terms of these rules are. If last year’s election is anything to go by, it is possible that candidates who breach the rules will face few if any consequences.

The Harbus has been told by several students that breaches of the regulations were common last year, with candidates facing limited consequences for these breaches. The students spoke on the condition of anonymity as they did not want to put their names to criticism of last year’s candidates. The Harbus is working to confirm the exact nature and extent of last year’s breaches and any punishments.

The Harbus contacted Linda and Nonso to seek their reaction to the attendance at the information session, and to understand their plans to enforce this year’s regulations. At the time of publication they had not responded in any way within 36 hours. We will update this article with their response when it is received.

Note: This article has been updated to correct a misstatement: We originally stated that tickets for Co-President were required to include one woman. That was incorrect and the reference has been removed. Further, the article has been updated to make it clear why Mike Murphy left the room when the Co-Presidents were asked about their relationship with the administration.