Campaigning begins today for USG hopefuls

Beginning Monday, the campus will be blanketed with colorful fliers, pamphlets and posters as the candidates for Undergraduate Student Government begin vying for students’ votes.

Campaign period officially starts Monday. Until now, candidates have been doing research, talking to student groups to get a feel for the key issues on students’ minds, and have been barred from any sort of campaigning. But on Monday, it will be full steam ahead.

Though candidates for senatorial positions will be campaigning too, the bulk of the politicking will be done by the four presidential tickets.

Running for president and vice president this year: junior Christopher Cheng, currently USG’s director of outreach, and junior Nehi Ogbevoen; junior Dylan Dann, currently a Greek Senator, and junior Addison McCaleb; junior Andrew Matson, USG’s current Director of Academic Affairs, and sophomore Juan Orjuela; and junior Jonathan Munoz-Proulx and sophomore Ryan Walsh.

USG Vice President Ashlie Chan said students should expect a lot of “in-your-face material” when campaigning begins Monday.

“The whole point of the election is to be as big of a face as possible and to be a presence on campus,” Chan said.

Chan anticipates less controversy in this year’s race because of the revised Elections Code.

Last year, Elections Code violations led to the disqualification of one presidential ticket and created confusion among candidates and students. This year, the Elections Code has been changed to more clearly state the rules about posting campaign materials in the hope that, with a better understanding of the rules, candidates will have an easier time avoiding violations.

Specifically, the Elections Code prohibits posting on trees, the ground, buildings, Tommy Trojan or any other statue, trash cans, lampposts, telephone poles and parking structures. Candidates are also barred from advertising in chalk form and from posting any campaign materials in university housing.

Chan said this year’s candidates are being particularly careful to avoid violations.

“A lot of candidates are asking questions and being vocal about their plans and making sure that it is OK,” Chan said. “I think a lot of people are wary of being filed against and so they’re really conscientious of their actions.”

Students will have a chance to hear from all the candidates on Wednesday during the presidential debate, which will be held at 8:00 p.m. in Taper Hall.

Emiko Suzuki, co-director of Elections and Recruitment, said the debate is an important opportunity for students to learn about the candidates’ platforms.

“It was pretty popular last year,” she said. “Hopefully people come to that.”

Overall, Suzuki said she is just hoping that the campaign and elections process runs smoothly.

“It’s a very stressful period because the candidates are trying to get their stuff out there and meet people,” Suzuki said. “We hope that this week won’t be too crazy … Everyone has been in good communication with each other so we just hope that continues.”

Voting begins Feb. 16.