UM students slow to show interest in running for campus government - Montana Kaimin: News

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Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 11:49 pm | Updated: 11:50 pm, Wed Mar 20, 2013.

Only 14 students have completed registration forms to run for the Associated Students of the University of Montana — with the deadline to file a week away.

“It’d be great if senators could go talk to our student groups and tell them why it’s great to run and be a senator,” Nielsen said. “We really need people to run.”

ASUM needs to fill 24 senate seats, the business manager position and the president and vice president positions for the 2013-2014 academic school year. Only one president/vice president team has filed to run and three students have submitted registration forms for the business manager position.

 “So far, the business manager position looks like it’s going to be the most interesting,” Nielsen said.

Students have until March 27 to file and complete a petition to run for office. Students running for senate or the business manager positions must petition 50 signatures from students to approve their candidacy by the deadline. The president/vice-president petitions require 100.

Interested students can pick up petitions from the ASUM office in the UC.  Petitions are due to the ASUM office by 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Campaigning for office begins officially after spring break on April 15. Students can vote in the primary election on April 24 by logging onto CyberBear.

ASUM will host a senate candidate forum on April 25 for students to discuss issues. It will hold an executive candidate forum on April 30. Students can access CyberBear on May 1 or 2 to vote in the general elections.

At it’s meeting Wednesday, senators voted to table a resolution that would limit the amount of money each individual, student group or third party affiliate could spend to promote ASUM ballot referenda items.

“Our bylaws are so confusing that to add more bureaucracy behind the way we do things is irresponsible,” said Micah Nielsen ASUM business manager. “We need to be making sure we are making substantial decisions for student groups that this would affect.”

The purpose of the ASUM resolution is to regulate the marketing influence that student groups and third parties affiliated with student groups at UM may have on ballot initiatives. The resolution states that individual groups would be allowed to only spend $300 on campaign expenditures toward ballot referenda.

“We should be supporting those who can go out there and get the best grassroots effort going,” said Senator Brandon Simpson. “Not those who can spend the most money to pay someone to stand out there and get signatures.”

How the $300 maximum would impact groups and ASUM agencies worried many senators. Much of the money student groups spend on ballot referenda comes from the budgets that ASUM provides them, Nielsen said.

“I don’t think we know the entirety of the effects if (the resolution) is passed,” Nielsen said. “But there are numbers we can get to help us make sense of this.”

ASUM will vote on the resolution next week. In the mean time senators will work to clarify the resolution and understand its ramifications. 

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