North Texas Daily

Athletic fee referendum to be put to a re-vote

Athletic fee referendum to be put to a re-vote

Kevin Fides

Athletic fee referendum to be put to a re-vote
January 19
23:56 2018

UNT’s Student Government Association (SGA) Election Board decided in a closed hearing Thursday night to put the student referendum increase for the athletic fee to a re-vote.

SGA originally held the vote in December 2017 but postponed results from being announced or moving forward after a complaint was filed with the board.

The organization published a statement via Twitter on Jan. 19 saying SGA’s logo had been used without authorization on altered SGA flyers, which “could have misled students & had an impact on their vote” and violated two SGA bylaws, two UNT policies and a Union House Guideline.

If passed, the increase would have gone to the Board of Regents for a vote. The referendum proposed increasing the intercollegiate athletic fee by $6.25 and decreasing the Student Service Fee by $2.00 per credit hour. The total would be a $4.25 per credit hour increase in student fees.

The Election Board voted unanimously in December to postpone the investigative process until the first week of the spring semester.

“Our job is to keep the integrity of the election process,” said SGA Election Board Commisioner Emily Vasquez.

SGA’s statement about the results of the hearing revealed the formal complaint was filed by SGA Communications Director Kelly Dicken, who also created the original graphic for the referendum notice.

In her formal complaint, Dicken said informative SGA flyers about the student referendum had been altered and were being distributed across campus. The alteration “could have had substantial impact on student votes, whether positive or negative,” according to the outcome statement.

The altered flyers were made by emergency administration and planning junior Nathan Goldsmith, who approached The North Texas Daily with information on Jan. 17 about the hearing.

“I have been very supportive of the athletics programs here at UNT,” Goldsmith said. “But seeing this student referendum being silently passed through for a vote, and not getting any answers from the SGA led me to act.”

One version of the altered graphics reads, “I am sorry to inform you that Wren Baker, Elizabeth With, & the SGA/GSC want to INCREASE Intercollegiate Athletics $7.5 million a semester REDUCE Student Services $1 million a semester all at a cost to you & future students.”

Goldsmith believed the grievance filed against him was based on ascam run by the SGA to pass the student referendum” without the students knowing a referendum was occurring.

“There is something, as was noticed, really bad here which led me to do my best of getting out the information to the students, who had been tasked with voting on a student referendum without being informed,” Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith requested information to file a grievance against SGA for “[rushing the] student referendum through… on students during dead week.” He said his request was denied by the SGA Election Board Advisor Melissa McGuire.

One of the violations the board said had been committed was against Union House Guideline Section 7.8 which prohibits “soliciting information in a non-free speech zone.”

“I do not know what a ‘non-free speech zone’ is in America,” Goldsmith said. “I only know, there shall be “no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble, and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

SGA received Dicken’s formal complaint about the student referendum at 5:44 p.m. on Dec. 6, 44 minutes after voting had closed on OrgSync.

In SGA’s initial statement, Vasquez said the referendum would be postponed because it violated UNT Policy 06.031 which reads, “During prefinals days, no new curricular content will be disseminated, student organizations do not meet and no extracurricular activities will be required.”

SGA and the Graduate Student Council (GSC) passed resolutions on Nov. 15 and 17 respectively that allowed the student referendum to take place. The referendum was first announced to students on Nov. 28. Graduate and undergraduate students were able to vote on the referendum from Monday, Dec. 4 to Wednesday, Dec. 6, which was during pre-finals week.

SGA plans to reschedule the referendum once the spring election schedule is set, according to their statement.

Featured Image: Apogee Stadium. Kevin Fides

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Zaira Perez

Zaira Perez

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