Last week, it was brought to the attention of The Temple News that Temple Student Government Elections Commissioner Noah Goff penned a letter to the rest of the Elections Committee about overspending in this year’s TSG election.
Goff claimed that Activate TU overspent its TSG campaign budget by 7 percent, by receiving donations from student organizations and using student printing money instead of campaign funds to create promotional posters. Goff also expressed frustration that Activate TU submitted a “woefully incomplete” account of the team’s spending.
The Temple News investigated these claims, and we’ve found the potential overspending might not be the fault of Activate TU; perhaps the vague Temple Student Government Elections Code is to blame.
The code, which was updated in February and sets the rules for TSG campaigns, explicitly states that any tangible gift must be counted in a campaign’s spending limit. But the code never explicitly defines a gift to a campaign. Instead, it states that the Elections Commissioner will determine how to count gifts to campaigns on a case-by-case basis.
We’re aware the Elections Committee looked into Activate TU’s campaign the night before voting closed — and suspended the team’s campaign for an hour — but we’re concerned that the TSG Elections Commissioner still feels unresolved about the issue.
The Temple News is a nonpartisan student news outlet, and we favor neither Activate TU nor its former competitor, Connecting TU. But we support without question the right to fair election processes within our student government. A fair election is important for both TSG tickets, as well as the entire student body and Temple faculty.
TSG ought to define exactly what constitutes a gift in campaigns, and it ought to set specific punishments for breaking those rules — instead of leaving that responsibility to the Elections Commissioner on a “case-by-case” basis.
To prevent instances of uncertainty like this in the future, a revision to the elections code is in order.