April 27, 2015

Letter: E&R committee illuminates issues on candidate spending

A recent opinion piece ("Pay to Play" 4/24/15) in The Maroon unfortunately contained a glaring omission regarding the elections process. The election rules impose strict campaign spending limits on each and every candidate. The limits for Slate and Liaison candidates correspond to the amounts furnished by the Election and Rules committee, so out-of-pocket expenditures in those campaigns are strictly prohibited. If violations are reported and confirmed, candidates are penalized either by vote deduction or disqualification. Additionally, expenditures are measured at fair market value in order to eliminate any advantage a candidate or slate may obtain from special donations or discounted election materials. Also, we’d like to note that campaign deposits, collected in case of physical campus damage caused by candidates, are returned after the election and can be made by check. We do not deposit the check if no damage occurs, and hence students do not have to pay these deposits out of pocket. We hope that these rules and policies help to serve the needs of students from all backgrounds who wish to take part in our student government.

We appreciate and encourage vigorous campus debate and discussion regarding all issues facing the student body, including privilege. This is the essence of what the student government, and the attendant elections process, is all about. We welcome conversation about the elections process and are always striving to make it more fair and transparent, and appreciate the spirit that the author was trying to capture. Our intention with this letter is merely to promote this discussion in its properly and fully informed context.

If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding the election process or potential violations, feel free to contact us at swendeborn@uchicago.edu.

—The E&R Committee

Steve Wendeborn

Max Freedman

Rahul Bhide