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BSG approves four measures, ban on first-year vote tallies fails

May 5, 2017

In its last meeting of the year, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) failed a bill that would have banned publicly releasing vote tallies from first-year elections, but passed several other bills that had been proposed earlier in the semester.

Class Representative Henry Bredar ’19 read a proposal that would withhold vote counts for the first-year BSG elections to the public, saying that low tallies could be unnecessarily embarrassing, especially for students still adjusting to life at Bowdoin. However, some students expressed concern that the vote counts could still leak if BSG revealed them to the candidates.

Beatrice Cabrera ’20, proposed an amendment saying, “When you sign your candidacy statement, [we could] add a rule that you can’t say [the vote count]. When you agree to run, you cannot share the results.”

Jacob Russell ’17 voiced a similar idea.

“I think we can explain to the six [candidates], and say ‘Hey, this is about the count for first years, please don’t share this.’ I think we can trust Bowdoin students enough,” he said. Other BSG members believed that the measure was unnecessary, as election vote counts are an expected part of campaigns for positions in a student government organization.

“If you’re running for election, you should be set up for loss,” said Entertainment Board Liaison Maggie Rose ’17.

At-Large Representative Kate Berkley ’18 noted that Middlebury and Williams only released the number of votes winners receive. Other members recommended extending the tally ban for all four years.

The proposal did not pass, but several BSG members recommended returning to the topic in the fall.

A measure to allow non-BSG members to make proposals, proposed by Representative At-Large Ian Culnane ’20 and Class Representative Spencer Shagoury ’17, passed with overwhelming support.

Representative At-Large Joe Lace ’17 and McKeen Center Liaison Quincy Leech ’17 had proposed creating a team of BSG historians who would document major developments on campus. Citing the importance of history and the similar positions at other colleges, the assembly passed the proposal easily.

BSG also passed a proposal to issue a statement encouraging the College to hire diverse faculty. Evelyn Sanchez Gonzalez ’17, who proposed the measure, cited the new incoming dean of academic affairs as a reason to reaffirm BSG’s desire to see a diverse faculty body.

Another proposal that passed was Lace and Leech’s measure calling for all BSG members to help continue the tradition of the Bowdoin Hello—encouraging students and community members to enthusiastically acknowledge each other around campus. The measure was prompted by the fact that many first-year students were not familiar with the tradition.

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