ASB Election Reform Task Force to host first forum Tuesday night

Posted on Oct 22 2018 - 5:50am by Taylor Vance

The Election Reform Task Force will host its first forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in Bishop Hall 209, where students are invited provide input on how to improve the campus elections process.

Former Associated Student Body Attorney General Katherine Sistrunk is co-directing the task force with Leah Davis, co-director for inclusion and cross-cultural engagement for the ASB.

The task force was created shortly after Sistrunk’s resignation and aims to address concerns of Greek organizations’ influence on ASB elections. Sistrunk said she resigned in part because of a belief that candidates who are backed by National Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council organizations are afforded benefits that non-Greek affiliated candidates are not.

“As a member of (the Greek) community, I have benefited from this system and I have been provided these advantages,” Sistrunk said in a statement announcing her resignation. “By publicly acknowledging this, I believe that we can reform this culture to be more inclusive and work to make student elections more equitable.”

The Daily Mississippian reported this year that ASB and personality election candidates are not required to disclose who donates to their campaigns. Most candidates in this semester’s personality elections were backed by their respective Greek organizations.

“The task force has been working hard these past few weeks to come up with ideas on how to best improve our election process, and we are excited to see how our ideas can collaborate with other students’ ideas,” Sistrunk and Davis wrote in an email to The Daily Mississippian. “We hope to see a variety of students from different campus organizations participating in the upcoming forum and are looking forward to hearing ideas and concerns surrounding our campus elections in an effort to make them better.”

When asked about the ethical concerns of ASB Elections Commision members also serving in leadership roles on the Interfraternity Council and the National Panhellenic Council, Sistrunk and Davis declined to comment. They also declined to comment on questions regarding candidates’ ability to withhold information about who and what organizations donate to their campaigns.