E-mail campaigns

Voting was the main order of business during the Minnesota Student Association’s first meeting of the millennium.
Delegates made decisions regarding restrictions on e-mail-campaigning and the amount candidates can spend on campaigns, and a new MSA representative was elected.
In the MSA’s first agenda item, the council voted down restrictions to its e-mail campaigning guidelines.
During the debate, questions were raised about the special guidelines for e-mail-campaigning in the 10-page summary of election rules.
Various MSA members believed the proposed guidelines could easily be violated with the e-mail system.
“(Restrictions) are a nice concept,” said MSA Academic Committee chairman Joe Gustafson. “But just because the e-mail is the way it is, it would never work.”
The United States Constitution was mentioned when Mike Miller, Student Life Committee chairman, opposed a campaign financing rule limiting the amount MSA presidential and vice presidential candidates can spend to $1,200. All other candidates are limited to $300.
“I can’t believe MSA would blatantly ignore the Constitution of America,” Miller said, who cited the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo case as a precedent that must be followed by MSA. Buckley v. Valeo stated that money spent on campaigning was equivalent to free speech and must be protected.
Other MSA representatives defended the 30-year-old rule and argued that MSA must support diversity. “The rule is there so people with lower incomes can afford to campaign with other candidates,” said MSA member Aaron Street.
In another election matter, Matt Abdel, a pre-med sophomore, was elected MSA representative from among three other candidates for the representative-at-large position.
In other business, Jan Morlock, spokeswoman for Institutional Relations, invited MSA members to join the Dinkytown Task Force — a 15-member neighborhood development group comprised of business and property owners, as well as University officials.
The student council unanimously passed a resolution congratulating the Gophers football team’s successes this season.

Raiza Beltran covers student life and welcomes comments at [email protected]