Posted on 07 March 2012.
Student Government Association this afternoon killed a motion to release detailed results from its recent elections.
Junior Taylor Meador and former presidential candidate Katie Palmer made a motion to rescind a vote that was passed 58-55 last Wednesday to release the data.
Palmer originally submitted a “motion to reconsider” the decision on Monday, four days after the vote.
Motions to reconsider” have to be submitted on the same day that the original vote was taken. “Motions to rescind” can be made at any time.
When SGA was called to order, Carroll said he wanted to make a correction and announced that the motion had changed to a “motion to rescind” this afternoon.
“Apparently, AJ has been telling us that we’ve been using the wrong words, but we just haven’t been listening,” Carroll said. Carroll was last year’s parliamentarian.
In an interview with The Collegian on Tuesday, Carroll said that the motion was a “motion to reconsider.”
Teare also said in an email to The Collegian that the motion was a “motion to reconsider.”
To pass assembly, the “motion to rescind” had to receive a two-thirds vote of the quorum.
After the vote, Carroll said that two-thirds voted to rescind. No count was taken or requested.
Before the vote, those in favor of retracting the original vote were allowed to show a PowerPoint presentation on their reasoning.
In the presentation, Meador said that releasing the numbers could potentially follow the candidates through the rest of their college careers and into their future jobs.
“It would discourage people from participating in student government,” Meador said. “We don’t need that on this campus.”
Palmer, acting as a representative of CPA, remained quiet during the presentation.
A representative from Alpha Phi said it was an assumption that the data would follow students into their careers.
“I don’t think someone will make a hiring decision based on how many votes a person received in an election at Butler University,” she said. “I think they’ll look at it, if anything, and say that that person actually ran.”
Another point in the presentation was that there is “adequate oversight” of the current electoral procedures so releasing the numbers is not necessary.
“It’s a fool-proof system,” Meador said. “There are already four neutral parties looking at this data.”
The only people who are allowed to see the detailed election results are Carroll, SGA adviser Caroline Huck-Watson, Election Oversight Committee Chair James Schubert and David Alder, Butler’s senior web systems analyst.
Carroll, Huck-Watson and Schubert all have publically expressed that they do not believe the data should be released.
In discussion, junior Abby Robison, the representative for Demia, said that there should be more oversight.
“It’s ridiculous and kind of sketchy that only four people actually see these numbers,” Robison said.
“To say that we don’t trust those four people and the employees of the PuLSE office, and our elected officials is disrespectful to our officials, to our students, to our assembly and to the university,” Meador said.
Assembly members applauded when Meador replied.
EJ Oldfield, a representative from Residential College, said that releasing the numbers would make elections “a numbers game.”
“It stops being about a candidate’s platform and more about a numbers thing,” Oldfield said.
In the presentation, Meador and Palmer said that SGA positions are not public offices.
Every Butler student pays a student fee each semester. A majority of that fee goes into SGA’s $700,000-plus budget, which is disbursed by SGA’s boards.
“If they’re overseeing our money, why shouldn’t we know?” junior CMENC representative Katie Bolinger said.
Robison said transparency in student government is important.
“We keep talking about transparency like it’s an ideal,” Robison said. “But clearly, SGA isn’t founded on ideals.”
Schubert, a freshman, said that though larger, public elections release the numbers, not every election does.
“Caucuses don’t always release the numbers,” he said.
A major argument against releasing the numbers has been whether the candidates’ feelings could be hurt.
“I don’t think that we should pit students against each other by printing the numbers,” Meador said.
A representative said that candidates shouldn’t focus on the numbers.
“If you’re really worried about the numbers, you shouldn’t be running in the first place,” he said. “Stop worrying about the numbers and start focusing on the school and how you’re going to change it.”
As of press time, the detailed election votes will not be released to the student body and Schubert also has not responded to the Collegian’s requests to receive the number of students who voted in last Wednesday’s presidential run-off election.
This data was released to The Collegian in the first presidential election last Monday and in previous years.