StuGov funds $21,000 to KURE, approves new election commissioner


Jacob Zirkelbach, clerk of the senate, attends the Student Government meeting on Aug. 23, 2017. 

Alex Connor

Two orders dominated the discussion during Wednesday’s Student Government meeting, one being a $21,000 funding request for upgraded equipment to KURE 88.5 and the other being the nomination—and later approval—of a new election commissioner.

The election commissioner position, which was left vacant at the end of the fall semester, was filled by former chief of staff and current Senate clerk Jacob Zirkelbach. 

Previously, Zirkelbach served as the Inter-Residence Hall Association president and for the West-Smith slate as their campaign manager in last year’s election.

Many questions asked by senators to Zirkelbach focused in on how he would best handle possible conflicts of interests with the senate and executive campaigns, as well as how he might resolve issues should they arise. 

Zirkelbach said he hopes to be strict with the rules, as listed in the Election Code, as a proactive effort to curtail any issues or violations.

“I think it is important to know that while the election commissioner does set the rules at the beginning, if there are any hearings, it is up to the election committee to make the decision on things,” he said. “I don’t have an intention to steer anything one way or another to benefit a slate because I just think that’s wrong.”

During his appointment, Zirkelbach also touched on problems he saw during the last election cycle and how he handled those situations. 

He cited the previous election commissioners inability to enforce violations by the other campaign that he felt needed to be addressed.

“If rules aren’t enforced, what’s the point?” he said.

Additionally, last year’s election commission was placed in a similiar position as this year’s commission. A new election commissioner needed to be appointed at the beginning of the spring semester. Typically, an individual holds the position for an entire year. 

To curb this, Zirkelbach said he is hoping to be more “proactive about that and reaching out to people before I need them” in relation to other resources Student Government relies on to successfully run an election.

Vice President Cody Smith said that of the pool of individuals they had to nominate from, Zirkelbach was the best candidate because he has previously run a campaign, has been involved in previous elections and an overall “proven track record.”

Zirkelbach’s nomination passed 28-0 with five abstaining. 

Discussion of the senate also heavily focused on whether or not to fund KURE 88.5 an upward of $20,000 for its equipment upgrade.

Representatives of student organization said this is “part two” of their renovations and need the support of Student Government to purchase the rest of their equipment—including a new console and cables. 

“Part one” of the upgrade, the organization said, was paid for by a company called Tech Starter in 2015 in which KURE was awarded about $14,000.

The request was originally about $27,000 but KURE and the Student Government financial committee revisited the request to only ask for what the organization needs immediately.

“What we’re doing is replacing our console and infrastructure,” Erica Parrish, production director, said. 

They said their current equipment has outlived its life usage—six to eight years—as it was purchased back in 2008.

The funding request passed 30-0-1.