Western’s Board of Governors decided yesterday to adopt a new policy regulating use of outdoor signage on campus. The new set of rules, which includes additional guidelines that will impact the University Students’ Council election campaign signs, will be in effect for the upcoming USC elections.
The policy, among other things, limits student election campaign signs to a maximum of two feet by four feet, and bans the use of colouring agents to write on snow — including, specifically, Kool-Aid.
This year, election signs are restricted to five areas of campus: the area across from the Natural Science building, Alumni Hall, the main gates of the university, Concrete Beach, and University College hill.
The new rules will also formalize the process of fining candidates who do not clean up their election materials within the required 48 hours after the end of the race.
Chris Sinal, undergraduate representative on the Board of Governors, pointed out anyone who thinks these rules mark a major change in student campaigning ought to check the campus’ history.
“Over the past two or three years, there has been an explosion of election signs across campus, where before there were none,” Sinal said.
According to Sinal, the university took quick notice of the rapid increase in outdoor signage. The drafting process for the new rules took place in 2008.
“My impression is that almost immediately when one crop of students went out and did this, the university realized they needed to do something about this,” Sinal added.
The regulations come just after the USC’s recent decision not to allow a motion to ban all outdoor campaign signage to be brought forward.
“Proposed changes to election laws, which are part of Bylaw 2, should be given with ample time for council members to see if those are changes they want to bring into the USC. Enough notice wasn’t given,” Nicole Fassina, communications officer for the USC, said.
The USC’s elections committee, of which Fassina is a part, also recommended Wednesday any motion to amend Bylaw 2 be brought after this year’s elections.
“We want to give all candidates who are either close or not as close to the USC enough time to prepare, and passing any changes to bylaw two so close to the election wouldn’t really work from a fairness perspective,” Fassina contested.
Jon Silver, another undergraduate representative on the Board of Governors, pointed candidates who are unable to successfully engage the greater student body use signage as a student-funded crutch.
“Student funds pay for the signs that are produced, so it’s just another impetus to get candidates to use students’ money in a way that will more successfully engage the electorate.”