Campaigning in residence halls causes less disturbance than last year

The only campaign presence the Associated Students of the University of Utah has had near the residence halls thus far this year was not even a campaign.

The Students First Party held a shindig for its members on Feb. 4 in a house on Officer’s Circle. The gathering had nothing to do with recruitment. Rather, its purpose “was to build morale to people already in the party,” said David Giroux of Students First.

There was caution tape wrapped around the outside of the house to help people recognize it, but “we made sure there was not open campaigning,” he said.

Though some neighbors expressed concern whether the party was on the up and up, Giroux assured “we had explicit permission from RHA. It was quiet, it ended promptly at midnight [and] it was all cleaned up afterward.”

Neighbors did not complain to him either, he said.

However, last year’s campaign held a different story.

Because of a particularly noisy cotton candy machine, two new rules have been added to the list of regulations for campaigning in the residence halls. This year, candidates may not campaign before 7 a.m. or after 11 p.m. They also may not use any generators within 75 feet of a residence hall building, said Jaymes Myers, RHA president.

“Last year, residents were being campaigned to down on campus and at home. They were not respected in their space of living,” he said.

However, this year has not seen any problems, and all of the campaigns have been very supportive of residents’ rights, Myers added.

And residents are happy to keep it that way.

“I’m sure I’ll see enough of it on lower campus,” said Sharon Leopardi, a sophomore geography student.

Kyle Van Pearsen, a sophomore in meteorology, said he agreed with Leopardi.

“They plaster campus with their ads and stuff,” he said.

Blake Paullin, Liz Ferris and Tamarin Espinoza, all students who live in the residence halls, said they were glad such rules are in place, because they thought actions such as door-to-door campaigning to be too intrusive.

“That’s too personal. [But] it’s my choice to come to a booth,” said Ferris, a physical therapy student.

For residents like Ferris, who would rather go to a candidate than have one come to them, RHA and ASUU will host a candidate debate on Wednesday in the Heritage Center at 8 p.m.

“We don’t want to deter candidates from campaigning in Heritage Commons,” RHA said in a statement to ASUU. “Instead, we remind the candidates to show residents the same courtesy and respect they show students off campus.”

Myers explained that it is essential to give ASUU a time and a place to appropriately campaign.

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