The Student Association unanimously passed a bill Monday night that will slash the amount of money students can spend during elections.
Students running for SA president, executive vice president, and top positions on Program Board will only be able to spend $750 on their campaigns, a 25 percent drop from the past election. At-Large senators’s spending limits were cut by a third to $500, and the spending cap for students running for all other SA senate and Class Council seats was cut in half to $250.
Sen. Zachary Graybill, SEAS-U, who sponsored the bill with Sen. Carlo Wood, SoB-U, said he determined the spending caps by analyzing how much each candidate spent during the most recent election cycle. Andie Dowd and Casey Syron, who won the two top SA spots, both spent the least out of all candidates running for their positions.
Wood, who lost his bid for executive vice president, spent $200 on his campaign last month. He said lowering the limits can help students who are on federal work study run for positions without worrying if they’ll be outspent by their opponents.
Sen. Victoria Goncalves, CCAS-U, who introduced a similar bill in January that proposed cutting spending caps in half, said the cuts to spending limits didn’t go deep enough.
“I’m offended at the notion that having these cuts is enough to make campaigns affordable,” she said.
The Class Council and Program Board will have to approve the changes before they can be instated.
The senate also unanimously passed a resolution supporting a Faculty Senate resolution that would let current student-employees keep their tuition benefits. The University started to rollback tuition benefits for student employees in September.
Sen. Frank Fritz, CCAS-U, urged senators to “stand together” with the 46 staff members laid off by GW last week.
“At comparable institutions, they currently pay 100 percent benefits to staff,” Fritz said. “When we’re in such a difficult fiscal situation, we have to stand together.”
The senate also passed a bill that changed the criteria student organizations would have to meet to receive funding for events. Student organizations will now receive funding based on how necessary the funding is to hold the event, instead of the prestige of the event.