Conducting Student Referendums
SA/PPS No. 07.09 (05.08)
Issue No. 3
Effective Date: 10/31/2016
Next Review Date: 12/01/2019 (E3Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
The purpose of this SA/PPS is to establish the guidelines for conducting and verifying student referendums.
A referendum is a student vote administered through designated university channels to recommend approval of new proposed changes related to official university business. A referendum will not serve as a petition, an opinion poll, or an attempt to influence state or federal legislation.
A student referendum may be called by:
the President of the University;
the Vice President for Student Affairs;
the Dean of Students;
the Student Body President, with the concurrence of the Student Senate; or
the students through a petition of at least ten percent (10%) of the currently enrolled student body as verified by the Dean of Students.
For President, Vice President for Student Affairs, or Dean of Students-initiated referendums:
The University President, Vice President for Student Affairs, or the Dean of Students may issue a call for the referendum vote at least twenty (20) class days prior to the time when the referendum will occur.
Faculty or staff members may recommend a student referendum be held by submitting a request through the established administrative chain in each respective division. If approval is obtained through the respective Vice President, the President may call a student referendum if such a referendum is warranted. The Dean of Students, or designee, and the Student Body President will schedule the dates for the referendum vote.
For Student Government initiated referendums:
The Student Body President, with 2/3 Student Senate approval, may issue a call for a referendum vote at least twenty (20) class days prior to the time when the referendum will occur.
A Student Senate Resolution must be adopted for a vote in order to achieve the 2/3 Student Senate approval and to provide suggested language for the referendum.
The Student Body President’s signature and approval of the Student Senate Resolution constitutes the official call for the referendum.
Department Directors and divisional Vice Presidents may request the Student Body President call for a student referendum by submitting a written request that details the nature of the referendum. The request must be submitted to the Student Body President sixty (60) class days prior to the requested referendum.
The Dean of Students, or designee, and the Student Body President will schedule the dates for the referendum vote.
For student-initiated referendums:
Students must begin coordination with the Dean of Students, or designee, at least thirty (30) class days prior to the proposed referendum.
The Dean of Students, or designee, will meet with the student(s) to explain the regulations and procedures for initiating and conducting the proposed referendum.
The Dean of Students, or designee, and the Student Body President will determine an appropriate time to hold the referendum allowing sufficient time to satisfactorily inform students of the issue(s) at hand.
A maximum of ten (10) class days will be allocated for the student initiating the referendum to obtain signatures from at least ten percent (10%) of the currently enrolled student body on the Student Referendum Request form.
The student initiating the referendum must submit the form(s) with the signatures from at least ten percent (10%) of the currently enrolled student body to the Dean of Students Office at least twenty (20) class days prior to the proposed referendum.
Upon receipt of the form(s), the Dean of Students, or designee, and the Student Body President will verify signatures. This verification process will be completed within ten (10) class days of the Dean’s receipt of the forms.
Referendum Voting Procedures
The Dean of Students, or designee, and the Student Body President will coordinate efforts to complete the appropriate arrangements prior to conducting the referendum.
A request to create an on-line referendum vote will be submitted to the Vice President for Student Affairs technology staff fifteen (15) days in advance of the first voting date.
The phrasing of the referendum statement may be in any format, but will be limited to one specific area/issue and only two answer options (choices) per question. More than one statement may appear on the ballot or more than one call for a referendum may be made if exigencies so dictate. The Dean of Students, or designee, and the Vice President for Student Affairs will approve the language of the referendum statement before the on-line referendum vote is programmed.
Student workers will be assigned by the Student Government Election Board to maintain the polls. Student wages for poll attendants are not required; however, if wages are paid, the source of such student wages will be the Student Government operating budget.
Publicity concerning the referendum will be made by the Student Government through both print and electronic media. The publicity should appear on university property a minimum of ten (10) class days before the referendum is conducted.
Polling station(s) with computer access will be established in at least one (1) major student traffic area on the San Marcos and on the Round Rock campuses to ensure that students have an opportunity to vote. Polling location(s) will be open a minimum of two class days (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) during the referendum voting period unless the location is enduring inclement weather conditions.
Polling station(s) established outside should have alternate location(s) in case of inclement weather. The alternate location(s) should be in near proximity to the outside polling station(s).
If inclement weather, the Student Government Election Board Chair must contact the Dean of Students, or designee, who will make the decision to close the affected polling station(s).
Students may vote from any computer on or off campus during the entirety of the referendum vote, that is, any time between 8:00 a.m. on the first day of voting and 5:00 p.m. on the final day of voting. On-line voting will be available, but voting from a mobile device is discouraged because the voting site is designed to open on a networked workstation running a university’s supported internet browser.
Campaigning or electioneering will not be allowed within fifty (50) feet of the polling places. Students will be expected to abide by all university rules and regulations involving the dissemination of information in any and all media formats. Violations will be reported to the Dean of Students Office, who will refer all complaints to the Student Government Election Board for review.
The Student Government Election Board, in conjunction with the Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs technology staff, verify all voting data.
It will be the responsibility of the Dean of Students Office, in consultation with the Student Body President, to ensure that written notification of the results shall be made public via the University Star and the University News Service within three (3) class days of the last day of voting on the referendum.
A simple majority of those students voting will determine the outcome of the referendum. In the event of a tie vote, a re-vote will be scheduled within 15 class days of the original vote.
Ballot data will be maintained by the Dean of Students Office for a minimum of three years.
Complaints and Protests
If on-line balloting is restricted because of an electronic malfunction, any protests and/or complaints must be submitted on the Referendum Complaint form to the Dean of Students Office within three (3) business days following the referendum vote.
Complaints and/or formal protests of a non-electronic matter must be submitted on the Referendum Complaint form. (Form 05.08 B, Appendix II) to the Dean of Students Office within three (3) business days following the referendum vote.
A Referendum Review Board consisting of the Student Government Election Board, the Student Government Staff Advisor and Dean of Students, who will serve as the chair, will determine the validity of the complaint or protest.
The Referendum Review Board may request an opportunity to review any or all of the contested ballots, including, but not limited to database information or other electronically available materials pertinent to the issues at hand.
The Referendum Review Board may interview any individuals who may be aware of any violations of this SAPPS that can be documented.
Students who wish to appeal the Referendum Review Board’s decision must submit the appeal in writing within three (3) business days to the Vice President for Student Affairs whose decision is final.
REVIEWERS OF THIS PPS
Reviewers of this PPS include the following:
Position Date Associate Vice President and Dean of Students December 1 E3Y Student Government Staff Advisor December 1 E3Y Student Body President Review December 1 E3Y
This PPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State Student Affairs policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students; senior reviewer of this PPS
Vice President for Student Affairs