September 5, 2000

Fourteen meet deadline for fall SGA elections

by Josh Renaud
staff editor

The first fall Student Government Association elections in recent memory at the University of Missouri -- St. Louis are about to begin in earnest.

The deadline for students to file for candidacy passed on Friday at 5 p.m. Fourteen students applied for the offices of SGA president, vice president, and comptroller.

The election process is the result of work done this summer by the provisional SGA. The provisional SGA was assembled by UMSL administrators after the election commissioner canceled the spring elections because of complaints about a lack of ballots, polling places, and election staff.

The provisional SGA made some changes to the election process to avoid the failures that plagued the SGA last year, said Ellory Glenn, a member of the provisional SGA.

Students last year learned after an investigation by The Current that Darwin Butler, then SGA president, was a convicted felon. Some students and alumni were embarrased by that and concerned because that wasn't known when Butler ran for office, explained Rick Blanton, director of Student Activities and SGA adviser.

One new wrinkle to the election process is that the candidacy applications include a new form, dubbed the "affidavit of moral character," which candidates were asked to sign. The affidavit explains that beause student government officials represent the University, they should be of exemplary character. Students were asked to disclose information about prior expulsion from other institutions as well as prior arrests and convictions.

On Wednesday at 12 p.m., the candidates' applications will be reviewed by a screening committee. Glenn said the committee is made up of himself, Mary Grace Rhoda, who is also of the provisional SGA, and Blanton. This meeting is open to anyone, Glenn said.

As in years past, the Office of Student Affairs will be asked to verify the information on an application if necessary, said Blanton.

"We want the candidates to understand that public figures are subject to public scrutiny," Glenn said. "If they have anything [on their record], it would be better to disclose it now than to have it come out in the news" later on.

"This is going to be a highly visible, high-profile campaign because of what happened to [former SGA president] Darwin Butler last year," Glenn said.

To advertise the elections, the provisional SGA plans to put fliers up around campus, buy ads in The Current, and use the TV monitors located in buildings across campus. Ellory said he anticipates the candidates will generate most of the buzz around the elections.

"There's enough candidates that I think this will be a forum for a more lively election than we had in the spring," said Glenn. "We have a much broader base of nominees."

Candidates will be notifed of their candidacy by the screening committee on or after Friday.

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.


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