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Student Senate Update: SAFO budgets put up for discussion, results of first year senator elections found invalid

The majority of Sunday night’s Student Senate meeting was devoted to discussing next year’s budgets for Student Activity Fee Organizations (SAFOs). Over the course of the meeting, which ran 6:05 p.m.-12:21 a.m., 11 out of the 15 organizations on the list were discussed to some degree, more some than others.

The following organizations had their budgets approved by senate: Campus Activities Board (CAB), Diversity Support Coalition (DSC), The New Hampshire (TNH), Mask and Dagger, New Hampshire Outing Club, Student Committee on Popular Entertainment (SCOPE), Organic Gardening Club (OGC), Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), 91.3 FM WUNH and Student Senate.

Though there were no SAFO budgets rejected by the senate in this meeting, there were a number of occurrences where the student representatives made the collective decision to postpone discussion and voting of some groups’ budgets until the next senate meeting. Those organizations are the following: UNH Electronic Dance Music Community (UNH EDMC), Memorial Union Student Organization (MUSO) and Slow Food UNH. Two other SAFOs were postponed until next week: Organization Resource Office (ORO) and the Student Activity Fee Office.

According to Student Senate Speaker Alexander Fries, the voting on the budgets for MUSO and Slow Food UNH was postponed because the proper representative for the respective organizations weren’t able to attend the meeting. He said that the voting in regard to the budget for UNH EDMC was postponed so that members of Student Senate could discuss the budget directly with members of the organization on matters concerning longevity and to assure that the group can operate to its fullest ability.

The other action taken up by the senate in the meeting dealt with the topic of the first year senator position. The approval of First Year Senator-elect Isaiah Laurencelle failed due to an issue concerning the Wildcat Link ballot.

Fries said that there were two issues that came up with this election that was held Oct. 26-27. According to him, there was a problem with how voters couldn’t write in a candidate on the ballot, even though there was a spot available. He classified it as a “coding error.” Another problem with the ballot was that not all first-year students were given access to vote in the election; notably those who aren’t classified as traditional first year students, such as transfer students and non-traditional first year students. 

“All those people that could potentially vote, couldn’t vote, “ Fries said.

Upon realizing these problems, the senate extended the timespan in which first years students could vote until Oct. 29.

“I want to be very clear, it was the results of the election that was voted down and not the candidate,” Fries said.

Fries said the reason that the approval was voted down was because the members of senate didn’t think it was ethical to certify the results from an election because of the issues that came up during the voting process. He further noted that the details regarding a new election for the position has yet to be finalized.

“Once [the voting process and new Election Day] is ratified, we’ll make sure to alert everyone,” he said.  “I can say that we did the best of a bad situation, I think. We certainly wouldn’t want anyone to be locked out [of their vote] for any reason.”

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