A mandatory meeting for all those interested in running for Student Government positions will be held tonight. Sure to provide a few surprises, tonight’s meeting will focus on how to file for candidacy and any questions potential campaigners may have.
“We almost always get surprises,” political science professor Susan Macmanus said. “USF Student Government politics is, really, the politics of surprise. It has been that way for years and I think that is what makes it exciting and interesting to people who are inclined to follow campus politics.”
The meeting, held in CPR 124 at 9 p.m., is intended to inform potential presidential, vice presidential and senate candidates on how to file for candidacy. The meeting will undoubtedly raise questions and MacManus said campaign rules would be a hot topic for both the Election Rules Committee and the candidates.
“You have to get the ball rolling, and the sooner you can find out where controversial areas lie, the better off you are going to be at resolving them before election day,” MacManus said. “I think the advantages of these (meetings) are, you see where the briar patches are and you try to clear them out before Election Day.”
In light of recent controversies surrounding SG elections — most notably last year’s campaign logo disputes — the SG Senate has been working to try to eliminate any hazy election rules.
“The rules are a lot more clear-cut this year,” student body President Bijal Chhadva said. “The senate has been working very hard to make the rules (without) gray areas; they are black or white. The senate has been working very hard to make rules that are enforceable.”
During the past two years, SG has had to investigate and cite candidates for campaign violations, but MacManus does not see those incidents as surprising or rare.
“It is a common thing on campuses all across the country, because it is a common thing in the real world of politics,” Macmanus said. “That is just the way politics are going these days.”
Despite the commonality of such instances, SG vice preisdent Andrew Aubery said problems could be avoided if campaigns and candidates were more inquisitive.
“If you don’t know something, just ask the ERC before you do it and see if it is okay or not,” Aubery said.
Although Aubery confirmed that he will be attending tomorrow’s meeting, he would not say if he was running for president this year after last year’s successful run with Chhadva. Even though Aubery did not confirm his intentions for this year’s elections, Chhadva did.
“Yes, Andrew Aubery is running for student body president,” Chhadva said.
Despite being an incumbent, MacManus is unsure what real advantage Aubery would have.
“It is hard to handicap people until you have seen the field,” MacManus said. “Obviously people with experience know USF’s campus; they know the intricacies of campaigning, but that is not to say that somebody else does not know them equally well — but as in the real world of politics, sometimes name recognition helps you a lot and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Rules and advantages aside, campus elections boil down to students and faculty voting March 1 and 2; but after the recent national politicking, MacManus has her doubts about student interest.
“Frankly, most students just went through a major national presidential race and probably campus politics is the furthest thing from most of their minds,” MacManus said.