Conduct of student body president elections must change

The candidates for the positions of student body president and vice president officially met for the first time Tuesday night. Looking back at the past few years of SG elections, new candidates cannot make the same mistakes of previous ones to avoid ridiculing themselves in the eyes of students.

Conditions during the last run-up to the student body president election in 2004 could only be described as chaotic. At the end of the election, every ticket had been disqualified or slapped with a warning at least once. There were so many incidents that students complained it was hard to keep straight who was still in the race — hardly a good start for the people who hoped to be entrusted to represent USF’s students.

It would be moot to dig up the old stories again, but it is safe to say that the rule violations that were followed by warnings and/or disqualifications could have easily been avoided. Such violations ranged from ridiculous (students complained to have felt “threatened”) to outright illegal (the logos two tickets used turned out to be plagiarized).

SG in general has often lamented it is not being taken seriously by students and the election of the student body president — who, after all, is supposed to represent student interests on the Board of Trustees — is not any different.

In 2004 the election garnered a “record” 3,775 votes. Since a runoff election was deemed necessary, votes cast in the general and runoff elections totaled a combined 7,518.

Bearing in mind that the USF Tampa campus alone had 36,291 students enrolled according to the USF Web site, this is hardly reason to celebrate, as it only accounts for votes of only 10 percent of eligible students.

To rally more support and increase election turnout, the candidates for student body president will have to avoid the pitfalls of past elections, if not just to avoid turning into a laughingstock in the eyes of those they hope will vote for them. Only then can they truly represent the students.