The referendum to establish the Social Planning and Events Committee as a separate arm of student government cannot be binding due to insufficient voter turnout, Nominations and Elections Committee chairperson Marcus Causey said last night. Causey said only 14 percent of the student body voted in the referendum, which needed 20 percent to be binding. He said, however, that the vote on the question overwhelmingly supported SPEC, with 85 to 90 percent casting ballots approving the change. "I guess it's basically just student apathy," Causey said of the low turnout. "I didn't think student apathy was this high." Seniors, whose turnout in elections is typically very low, are allowed to cast ballots for referenda and are counted in the 20 percent required for passage. They are not allowed to vote in the Undergraduate Assembly elections. SPEC officials campaigned extensively for the issue, but SPEC President Lisa Nass said last night that although she was disappointed with the low turnout, SPEC would not suffer because of it. "I don't think it will hurt SPEC in the future," she said. "As long as SPEC continues to have successful events, I don't think political issues will affect its programming." She said one primary reason for asking students to formalize SPEC as a separate branch through the referendum was to ensure its existence and protect it from possible intervention from the UA, which currently oversees the organization as a subcommittee. "As long as it's running well, I don't think the UA could justify getting rid of SPEC," she added. Outgoing UA Vice-chairperson Mike Feinberg said last night he does not believe SPEC will face any political threats. "That's synonymous with saying 'We don't want Homecoming,' and 'We don't want Spring Fling,' " he said. "[A decision like] that would not serve the student body." Nass said she was pleased, however, that the majority of students who voted cast ballots in favor of the referendum. "I think it's a good sign that we got an overwhelmingly favorable turnout," she said. "It would be very difficult for people to get rid of SPEC with such widespread support." Feinberg said the failure of the referendum could have positive results because it will make all members of student government more committed to passing a new constitution next year. "This throws everyone's eggs into the same basket," he said. Last spring's referenda -- which dealt with SPEC, the UA constitution and an honor code -- were also not valid, but in that vote close to 18 percent of the student body turned out, Causey said last night. "This year, there wasn't something like [the honor code] and people didn't care," he added. While results of this week's UA elections were not announced, Causey said between 19 and 20 percent of eligible undergraduates voted for candidates. UA elections, unlike referenda, are valid regardless of student turnout. Three candidates in the election face possible disqualification after being charged with not turning in spending forms. The NEC requires that candidates turn in these forms to prove they have not exceeded the $32 campaign spending limit. The candidates who face charges are College junior Jose Carrion, College freshman Glenn Kaplan and Wharton senior Josephine Lee. None were available for comment last night. Causey added that three other candidates had initially been charged with violating anti-party guidelines, which prohibit candidates from campaigning for one another. But the individual who filed the request for the investigation dropped the charges. Each of the candidates will be formally charged Monday at a Fair Practice Code Hearing, where cases will be presented against each of the candidates by the NEC, Causey said. All three will have equal time to defend themselves against the charges. To be disqualified, Causey said, Elections Chairperson Tanya Young must prove that the candidates are guilty of the charge and that their actions biased the election. Two-thirds of the entire NEC body most vote against the candidates for disqualification.Comments powered by Disqus
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