Baxter Ingram ’16, the administrator of the Class of 2016 Facebook account, sought to sell the cover photo to the highest bidder of the 32 Freshman Class Council candidates during the first week of October. The USG distanced itself from the campaign tactic, though at the time the election handbook did not explicitly prohibit it.
While one of the three amendments is a “cosmetic change” that makes the elections handbook more computer-friendly, the other two are in direct response to the cover photo controversy.
The first major amendment adds a line saying that “[c]ampaign spending must not violate any pre-existing contracts and agreements with other or external parties.” This would have been enough to forbid bidding on the ad space because Ingram’s use of his page’s cover photo violated Facebook’s Terms of Service, according to USG president Bruce Easop ’13.
The second major amendment limits the powers of the elections manager, which became a topic of discussion after the controversy. Under the old language, elections managers could mete out “penalties for other violations” at their discretion. Some members of the Senate took this to mean that the elections manager could determine penalties for violations that were not explicitly forbidden by the elections handbook.
The new amendment explicitly denies this reading by adding the words “in this Handbook” after “penalties for other violations,” specifying that the elections manager only has the ability to penalize candidates for violations mentioned in the handbook. This “clarifies the limits of the Elections Manager’s powers,” U-Councilor Elan Kugelmass ’14 said in an interview following the Senate meeting.
In the event the USG confronts a potential violation not spelled out in the handbook, as happened with the Facebook page, the matter would come before the Senate, not simply the elections manager, Easop said in an interview.
The USG also discussed a proposal by Class of 2015 senator Shawon Jackson to help promote and expand the Career Center’s Alumni Careers Network program. The program currently lets students find alumni via a search engine to email them asking for career advice. The proposal aims to implement a “pairing system” in which a student communicates continuously with that alumnus over the course of a semester.
During the discussion, U-Councilor Gavin Cook ’15 stressed that his decision to join the East Asian Studies department was influenced by having a long conversation with Young Suk Chi ’83, now the CEO of a global health publishing company.
“To have these successful people telling students that the small departments are practical paths really makes a difference,” Cook said.
Other topics of the meeting included an expansion of the Tiger Rides program to include more potential stops and plans for the upcoming Month of Service.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/10/22/31602/