USG is moving forward with mental health initiatives to relieve the stress od candidates during elections.
Director of Elections & Recruitment Vaanyasri Goel, Assistant Directors of Elections & Recruitment Julia Katcher and Sangeeta Kishore presented USC Undergraduate Student Government 2020 Elections Code on Tuesday’s meeting. The presentation highlighted important changes and clarifications made to the code.
New to this year’s code is the Wellness Pact. The pact is signed by each candidate voluntarily and puts a special emphasis on the mental health and wellbeing of candidates during the stressful election process.
“USG as a whole, primarily the president and the vice president, has made mental health a priority this year and they’ve ingrained that through team meetings,” Katcher said. She described having the pact as filling a gap in the codes.
Since Elections & Recruitment sent out research each year after the election asking candidates about their experience, which included describing stress level, results have shown that people can easily “lose track of their mental health” during election time, Katcher said.
While the exact implementation of the pact is still under discussion, the new code changes will encourage candidates to have bi-weekly meetings with at least one member from Election & Recruitment to provide updates on their mental health.
The team will help to work out the schedule and suggest breaks for the candidates during campaign season without affecting their elections, Katcher said.
The Elections & Recruitment team also encouraged candidates to take self-care practices, prioritize academic performance and seek mental health resources provided through Engemann Student Health Center.
The code updates also clarified the section regarding write-in candidates. The new corrections were made to reflect the actual definition of write-in, according to the presentation.
Elections & Recruitment is under the Communications Branch of USG and is“responsible for holding USG elections in the spring and promoting interest in joining USG to the student body,” according to USG’s website.
Additionally, Senator Angela Chuang, Ben Rosenthal and Christopher McMorran presented Transfer Forgiveness Resolution, which aims to expand the course repetition policy to transfer students. The policy, commonly known as “Freshman Forgiveness,” allows first-time freshmen students to retake no more than three of the courses taken in the first two semesters at USC which the student earned a grade of D+ or below, according to the resolution.
Senator Christopher McMorran and Emily Johnson also presented USC Service Workers’ Contract Renegotiation Resolution at the end.
These three resolutions will be discussed further by the Senate next week.