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Student candidates fund own campaigns

On April 4, 2013

By Ariel Wiley For the Miami Student

Students running in the Associated Student Government (ASG) presidential election must provide their own funds for the campaign with a $2000 spending limit. Some said this poses a possible unfair disadvantage, while others said it shows candidates' dedication. According to Elections Committee chairman and student body vice president, senior Lizzie Litzow, since the school does not directly benefit from the election, they are not obligated to pay for students' campaigns.

"If the school funded the campaigns, I'm sure a lot more people would be more interested in the position, but it shows their commitment to the campaign," Litzow said.

She also said the committee capped the limit at $2,000 because of tradition.

"That's the amount it's always been in years past, so we kept it that way," Litzow said.

Presidential candidate junior Charlie Schreiber and his running mate junior Courtney Bernard said they have collected funds for their campaign with help from the Greek organizations they are in.

"Some has come out of Pi Kappa Phi, $500, which Charlie is a member [of]," Bernard said. "Alpha Chi Omega, which is my sorority, donated $300."

The majority of the campaign money goes toward campaign advertising, according to Bernard.

"Every week we have to turn in receipts for what we pay for," Bernard said. "Our money goes towards advertising material, such as t-shirts, fliers, posters and cards to pass out to people. Also our rally and the equipment."

In addition, Schreiber and Bernard have each donated $500 personally.

Junior Calvin Davis, who is no longer in the running, discussed the price of paying out-of-pocket.

"Definitely one of the negatives of drawing funds privately is that candidates that come from more wealthier backgrounds can easily pool their money from a frat, sorority, family or friend," he said. "If we all received $2,000 from the school for campaigning, then it would truly be a level playing field."

Junior Alexander Nixon, who is no loner in the running added his take on this issue.

"It doesn't make sense for student body candidates to pay obscene amounts of money when there are other issues to be focused on," Nixon said.

With the spending limit in place, Nixon said he looked for different ways to reach out to the students.

"What we have found in using social media, list serve, reaching out to people, which doesn't cost very much, has tremendously more impact than signs and koozie and t-shirts," Nixon said.

According to him, the student body cares the most about the about the platform being presented.

"People, the voters, are way smarter than someone giving them something, they want to see real change happening," Nixon said.

According to Litzow, funds can be a way to get a running candidate's names out to the people, but there are many other opportunities to reach students on Miami's campus without pulling money out-of-pocket, according to Litzow.

"You have to go out and talk to student organizations, do homework in an academic building, be out as much as you can so that the students see you and see your face," Litzow said.

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