Pets still banned; online elections approved by SGA

Madina Seytmuradova

Staff Writer

The Student Government Association did not pass the Pets on Campus resolution that was proposed during last week’s meeting.

Senators voiced their concern Tuesday for students allergic to dogs, possible violent incidents, the costs of labor and resources necessary for conducting the proposed screening and enforcement of the presence of only certified dogs on campus.

Senator Troy Hidle, a sophomore global business major from Montgomery, said that in his conversation with Dean of Student Services Herbert Reeves, he learned that even if the resolution did pass through SGA, it would not have been approved by Reeves.

“He said, ‘I was here when this was put in place, and it was put in place for a reason,’ ” Hidle said. “There was something similar two or three years ago, and it didn’t work. People were being attacked by dogs, and they (the University) just didn’t want to cover that liability that won’t come out of insurance.”

SGA also moved to pass an amendment to its code of laws that will enable students to vote on their personal computers or handheld devices during the fall SGA elections.

According to director of representation Olivia Melton, a junior mathematics and economics major from Orange Beach, the Qualtrics survey software will be used to replace the current system. Qualtrics is used by the Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness offices at Troy Online, and was thus considered statistically credible.

SGA aims to increase voter turnout through the replacement. “Our program that we use is already considered online voting,” Melton said.

“What we propose is that we do online voting where they (students) can vote anytime, anywhere,” Melton said. “Everyone will get a link, and it’s personalized to individual students.”

The link, according to Melton, will require the ID number of the student from whose email the link was opened. This two-barrier system is supposed to ensure that no student votes twice.

According to Melton, there were incidents of groups on campus pressuring their members to vote either by asking to be at checkpoints, presenting “I voted” stickers, or sending a picture of the confirmation page.

Qualtrics can prevent that since no physical proof of an individual’s participation can be rendered: presence at the voting spot is not necessary, students don’t get stickers and the final page of the survey is identical for all students.

“I think that the two-step confirmation prevents that from happening,” Sierra Clark, sophomore exercise science major from Birmingham, said. “It alleviates the pressure from group bias since you can do it at your own location. Also it allows more people to vote because they can just sit in their beds and be able to log in and vote.”

According to SGA Senator Sam Moody, a sophomore global business major from Montgomery, the system will give a better chance to have every student vote in elections.

“Even if these organizations were holding their members accountable to go and vote, if you have 50 percent voter turnout versus the 18 percent that we had this past election, that’s going to be more fair,” he said.

Absentee ballots will also be rendered unnecessary since all students will be able to vote at their convenient locations.

“We have students who study abroad, students who are physically disabled and they cannot come out and vote, and this is our opportunity to involve them,” said SGA Senator Darunda Wilkins, a junior business management major from Montgomery.

The low voter turnout is partially a result of lack of information on candidates, said Austin MacCraw, a sophomore English major from Clermont, Florida.

“I always feel too uninformed to vote,” he said. “What they should do is have an email sent to all students with individual bios written about each person and their platforms.

“Maybe 10 days in advance, have everyone write a bio, put it all in one email saying… what they’re running for.”

The option to vote in the SGA office will still remain available to students.

Results of Wednesday’s elections are available online at tropnews.com

The senate closed its spring session and will not hold any more meetings until the next academic year. To celebrate the end of the semester, SGA will be holding a banquet on April 12, during which the new executive officers will be inaugurated into office.

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