On Wednesday evening, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) passed changes to its election bylaws, ending a debate initiated two weeks ago by BSG President Chris Breen ’15 over more stringent guidelines for candidate spending.

The bylaws already prohibited election parties hosted by candidates or on their behalf, giving gifts and sending mass emails via the College’s club, class or dorm lists.

However, after Wednesday’s near-unanimous vote—with one abstention and one vote in opposition—the election bylaws now restrict all candidates to the use of $12—provided by BSG—to be spent at Bowdoin’s Copy Center.

The change seeks to limit self-funded expenditures by student candidates. Under BSG’s previous rules, candidates received a $10 poster allotment, but no bylaw prevented candidates from spending their own money on campaign materials.

In previous election cycles, candidates have spent their own money on more than just posters. Informational handouts, flyers, glossy banners hanging from dorm room windows, and sponsored posts on social media sites like Facebook have all been funded out of students’ pockets, leading several BSG members to raise the question of whether certain candidates could have socioeconomic advantages over others.

“If someone has the money to spend on a campaign, and someone doesn’t, do we want that to become an issue?” asked At-Large Representative David Levine ’16.

The proposal approved on Wednesday night was both simpler and more restrictive than several of the ideas brought up in debate two weeks ago. One such idea was allowing individual expenses by candidates, but capping them.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Chrissy Rujiraorchai ’17 voted against the proposal because she felt that not everyone had the chance to think it through completely.

“This is a fairly new council and some people don’t have experience in BSG yet, so to make such a rash decision of a bylaw that’s been there for years, I think it’s a little bit quick,” she said. “We had a two-week turnaround, and we didn’t have enough time to really think about the implications.”

At-Large Representative Kiki Nakamura-Koyama ’17, who abstained, said that she did so not because of the content of the proposal, but because she had missed the initial debate on the topic.