Committee formed to review OSA election bylaws after election penalty controversy

Laura Dickinson

After the recent Oshkosh Student Association presidential election, OSA members, candidates and election commission members have formed an ad hoc committee to review and make changes to the current OSA Election Bylaws.

In March, UW Oshkosh held elections for OSA president and vice president. After the election day, members of the election commission held hearings about candidates breaking election bylaws.

The presidential team of Colligan/Carter had originally won the OSA presidential election, but after the hearing, 26 percent of the total vote deducted from their 294 votes left them with 94 votes, causing the team of Berge/Schadrie to win the election.

OSA Vice President elect and committee member Jared Schadrie said he joined the committee because he wants to make sure changes are made for future elections.

“The current bylaws have major flaws, and it was obvious to the OSA senate and students at UW Oshkosh changes are needed,” Schadrie said. “The day senate approved the election results, everyone agreed major changes to the bylaws were needed. An ad hoc committee was created, and we have met four times now.”

Former OSA Presidential candidate Aaron Wojciechowski said the committee is working to fix the problems in this year’s election.

“The main points of concern for many of the members are the current penalty system, campaigning/election rules and overall language and definitions that need to be reworked or better defined,” Wojciechowski said.

OSA Election Commissioner Daniel Dennis was appointed chair of the ad hoc committee and said it is focused on making the bylaws more understandable.

“The main concern for the committee has been the election’s rules outlined in 5.8 of the current bylaws and how to make the rules more clear and the penalties more appropriate,” Dennis said.

Dennis said the process of changing the bylaws has just gotten off the ground and has been a slow process so far.

“Some progress has been made in creating a proposal for senate,” Dennis said. “Mostly we’ve outlined what needs to be changed and are attempting to address penalties for violations.”

Committee member Brett Spangler said the committee is not taking changes to the election bylaws very lightly.

“The issues with the old bylaws are not quick and easy fixes,” Spangler said. “These are big changes that need to be considered carefully, and there has been a lot of debate so far.”

Spangler said the easiest part so far has been deciding what should stay while deciding what should go has been more the difficult part in re-writing the election bylaws.

“So far, we have figured out what we want to keep from the old bylaws,” Spangler said. “We will be beginning debate on what we want to change and how we want to change it very soon.”

Wojciechowski said the committee is working to create solutions as soon as possible.

“We have begun the process of going through the current bylaws and keeping what is good, and simply highlighting areas that we believe are problematic and need reworking,” Wojciechowski said. “From there, we are then coming up with solutions to the highlighted areas of concern. I missed the last meeting, but from my knowledge, we are in the solutions phase, which in my opinion is the most important and will probably be the most lengthy phase of the process.”

Wojciechowski said he hopes the committee can come to a solution that keeps students interested in being involved in student government.

“I think the controversy and results of the recent OSA election prompted students to really take a look at the current bylaws and realize that changes are necessary,” Wojciechowski said. “It’s clear that there are problems with the current bylaws; we hope to minimize those problems and create fair and effective rules that will continue to encourage students to be involved in student government.”