The point has been proven once again – the bylaws of the Students’ Association Constitution are inadequate and unclear.
During this election, two of the four campaigns have been brought before the SA Election Committee for violating the bylaws by distributing unsolicited e-mails to members of the UR student body.
Junior Noah Kuschel’s violation consisted of requesting that the president of an SA organization forward an e-mail to all of the members of that organization.
This was a clear violation of election rules because he was warned by the election committee before the e-mail was forwarded that mass e-mails were not allowed.
Senior Stephen Duszlak spoke at a meeting for an SA organization, and his speech was included in the minutes of that group, which were then distributed by e-mail. While Duszlak was not directly involved in the actual sending of this e-mail, he was on the mailing list for the group and knew that he would probably be included in these particular minutes.
According to the election committee, these acts were both in violation of the senate’s election bylaws. As the bylaws are currently written, the only reference to e-mailing is a statement that the election committee will comply with all Academic Technology Service policies. The most current ATS policy – from 1997 – states that users should not send “unsolicited mass e-mailings.”
This wording is vague at best. While this year’s election committee was merely following the current bylaws and precedents set by previous committees, there is a clear need for specificity. The current bylaws were correctly interpreted, but new election laws should be a part of the bylaw revision that is so desperately needed.
We see no problem with candidates sending personal e-mails to leaders of SA groups with the intent that the e-mail should be forwarded to group members, if the group leader thinks it is appropriate.
Because the combination of constitutional bylaws and ATS policy is vague, new bylaws should be written with the cooperation of ITS to specify election rules governing the use of e-mail.
Instances such as this are a reminder that it is necessary to support the referendum to rewrite bylaws.