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November 06, 1998 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-06

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 6, 1998


, al
.t i

Ooard of 70 cute and ciddlv stuffed ยข animals mad its way onto the ballot al
diana Un :IV(rsitv. Candidates al the I biversity of Minlnesota laid ifl bed for
hou rs just to greet pOtenllial Su pporters. Andu big spen ders at Ohio State
ni Tversity are wil ing to Shell out more than $6,000 just for (a chance
to win an unpakI student goverinent position.
@, 5. ,.5 x 9 4ice q ' 9 _ . . ' t iI.




By Jcn ifer Yachtil andI Sarah
Daily Staff ReItr

LC v i

Each year students spend hundreds of hours
and pour thousands of dollars into cam-
paigns throughout the Big Ten, vying for
spaces in student government organizations.
While only a fraction of University students vote
in the annual Michigan Student Assembly elections,
every student knows its election time when the
floors of Angell Hall are littered with hundreds of
fliers displaying snappy slogans.
Fliers carpet walls, kiosks and even the floors of
Big Ten schools during election season, but stu-
dents at Indiana actually find candidates knocking
on doors at all hours of the day as they charge down
the campaign trail.
Indiana University Students Association Vice
President Brad Preamble described a "typical can-
didate's day" as waking up at 6 a.m. to paint the
campus with fliers before doing some door-to-door
campaigning and finally ending the night with a
meeting at the party headquarters.
Party tickets "form through friendships, there's
no ideology involved," Preamble said.
Candidates can start as early as this month to
form tickets, and official campaigning begins at the
end of February with elections in late March or
early April.
"The tradition has been to form tickets of four
executive officers," Preamble said. The main ticket
includes a president, two vice-presidents and a trea-

surer, who then recruit 70
assembly members.
The party name is
formed by using the first
letter of the last names of
the executive officer,
Preamble said.
Generally, two main
parties run against each
other and a "handful" of
joke tickets also run,
Preamble said. During the

"Everyone i
catches the
students. "
Minnesota Students

In addition to flier advertising, candidates use
mass e-mails, T-shirts and send out campaign liter-
ature by way of pizza boxes.
"There are always little complaints here and
there," he said. "There's never been any total scan-
dal or anything."
Several schools use a graduated system of spend-
ing limits, varied on the number of candidates run-
ning on a ticket or slate.
At the University of Iowa president and vice
president candidates run on a joint ticket and are
required to select one or two candidates for each of
the three senate assemblies, said Sarah Pettinger,
executive vice president of Undergraduate
Activities Senate.
Candidates are limited to $2,000 in spending
with an additional $250 for each senate candidate.
"Most of the money goes to ads in the Daily
(Iowan) newspaper," Pettinger said.
Two years ago, candidates brought a truckload
of Ben and Jerry's ice cream to campus during the
campaign to distribute to students, Pettinger said.
The University of Minnesota only places spend-
ing limits on its presidential and vice presidential
candidates, said Nikki Kubista, president of the
Minnesota Students Association.
"The University has an $800 spending limit for
presidential and vice presidential candidates, and
they can be removed from office for exceeding the
limits," Kubista said.
triestodoCandidates are
required to file an
expense report to the
I a Minnesota student gov-
eye of the emnment to prove they
are not exceeding the
spending limits.
Candidates for the 70
- Nikki Kubista representative seats tra-
Association president ditionally "do not do a
lot of campaigning,"
Kubista said. "I think that the race for president and
vice president supersedes the rest of the election."
Kubista said the Minnesota presidential tickets
generally participate in chalking, postering and
fliering and also take part in debates broadcast on
the college radio station.
During the month-and-a-half-long campaign
period, candidates also stage activities such as
putting on shows at the Minnesota student center
and dressing as deceased U.S. presidents to gain
attention during the campaign.
"Everyone tries to do something that catches the
eye of the students," Kubista said.
At Indiana, candidates have spent $7 to 8,000 on
campaigns in extreme cases, Preamble said.
The competition for a student government posi-
tion is created in part by the responsibility involved,
Preamble said. Students work closely with Indiana
administrators in "decisions making" and spend
about 40 hours each week working on policies,
committees and holding office hours.
Nate Smith-Tyge, chair of the Associated
Students of Michigan State University, said
"there's sort of dull campaigning around here."
"Our elections are sort of low-key," Smith-Tyge
said. He said one reason for the low participation is
that MSU does not "have the appeal of an all-uni-
versity vote for president."
But he said he hopes to "invigorate" the elections
by trying to emphasize general election/voter


last IUSA elections the Vast Right Wing
Conspiracy party ran on the platform of abolishing
the IUSA and used stuffed animals as stand-ins for
its congressional members.
In addition to common methods of campaigning,
IUSA candidates also purchase T-shirts, lease office
suites for campaign headquarters and pay cellular
phone bills.
"They use the headquarters as a general meeting
place for all the candidates," Preamble said. "It's
hard to meet at somebody's house when you have
80 people."
Slate members also give pep talks, Preamble
said, and use the headquarters as "war rooms."
IUSA revamped its election code this year to
increase candidates' spending limits and create
rules about voter fraud.
"The spending limit was $2,500," Preamble said.
The new restrictions allow the executive candi-
dates to spend up to $1,000 with an additional $250
per representative on the ticket, creating a ceiling
of $3,450 per slate.
"The limit was too low with the amount of things
that go on here," Preamble said.
Spending money
The image of the spend-thrifty college student is
often lost during student government campaigning.
All but one Big Ten university imposes spending
limits on student government campaigns, which
vary from $50 to more than $3,000.
Ariel Friedler, president of Northwestern's
Associated Student Government, said the $100
spending limit is designed to keep students from
being swayed by extravagant campaigning.
"The issue is that they want the students to vote

ABOVE: During the 1997 spring
elections for the Michigan
Student Assembly, candidate
William Nicholson takes a break
to have lunch while
campaigning. Students
campaigning for seats on stu-
dent govemments throughout
the Big Ten often pull highjinks
such as wearing sandwich
boards, hosting student events
and passing out free pizza to
potential voters.
RIGHT: Indiana Student Brian
Cogswell helps his runningmate
"Lionel P. Twinkles" during
election season last spring. Both
Cogswell and Twinkles ran as
members of the Vast Right Wing
Conspiracy party, whose
platform consisted of abolishing
the Indiana University Students
Association. IUSA Vice President
Brad Preamble said two main
tickets usually campaign along
with a handful of "joke tickets"
such as the VRWC party.


Courtesy UIdina Daily StuUent

"There have been no real problems in a long
time," Smith-Tyge said, except for one candidate cent for each additional penalty."
who was re-elected despite some negative cam- To make sure candidates do not exceed spending
paigning during the last election cycle. limits, each slate is required to file an expense report
once during the campaign and again following the

ument must be stamped by an election committee,
Deitrick said.
Candidates at Northwestern face forced resigna-
tion if they are found breaking the relatively low
$100 spending limit.
"Three years ago one girl forged some receipts,"
Friedler said. She wanted to spend more on her
campaign than the limit and ended up having to


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