Student Government

Every student duly enrolled at SOWELA Technical Community College shall be a member of the Student Government Association (SGA). The SGA is designed to facilitate student involvement within the College. The SGA promotes the general welfare of the College in a democratic fashion and facilitates communication among the student body, the faculty, and the administration.

The purpose of the SGA is to serve students by advocating for student rights as well as providing programs that enrich the college experience. The SGA governing body is comprised of an Executive Branch and Student Senate. An elected president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer form the Executive Branch. Senators are chosen by each department/organization to represent the interests of that department/organization.

SGA Election Packet

Any student running for SGA MUST also submit a completed SGA Application in order to be considered.

A fair and ethical SOWELA Technical Community College (SOWELA) Student Government Association (SGA) election is the foundation upon which this representative form of government is built; therefore, it is imperative that the elections have guidelines and codes to ensure that all candidates are elected in a fair and unbiased manner. Any actions or deviations from the election code may result in candidate disqualification. In accordance with the SGA Constitution and By-laws, the SGA advisor will organize and execute its prescribed duties regarding the election. The following guidelines are intended to promote a fair and impartial election process.

Section I: Voter Qualifications

  1. Students must be enrolled at SOWELA at time of election.
  2. Students may only vote once in each election.
  3. Persons with special needs will be provided assistance as needed through the Office of Student Services.
  4. All voting will take place electronically.
  5. Students must be able to access their SOWELA student email address to vote. Every student will be emailed a link to their student email. Each link will only allow access to complete one ballot.

Section II: Dates of General and Runoff Elections

  1. General elections will be held at the end of March.
  2. Runoff elections, if necessary, will be held during the week following the General Election.
  3. The Director of Student Services shall retain and preserve all records and documents relating to candidate qualification, documentation, and the results of a general or runoff election for at least one year after the date of a general or runoff election. These records and documents, apart from candidate qualification records, shall be public record.
  4. SGA Elections
    1. Polls will open on the day of election at times announced online.
    2. Voting in a general or runoff election shall discontinue at the close of the polls.
    3. Electronic elections will be held, both the candidates and student body will be notified by official SOWELA email.
    4. Electronic voting will begin and end at specified times.
  5. Special elections will be called for as needed in the fall semester by the Office of Student Services.

Section III: Candidate, Officer, and Appointee Qualifications

  1. Each candidate running for office must be enrolled in and maintain at least 12 hours in the fall and spring semester (with an exception due to extenuating circumstances) and must have completed a minimum of twelve credit hours in a SOWELA Technical Community College program area. Six credit hours must have been completed within the SOWELA Technical Community College LCTCS system by the end of the semester in which they are running.
  2. All candidates must have and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA at the time of election and a 2.0 GPA each semester during their term in office.
  3. All candidates will commit to serve a full year (Fall, Spring) on the executive board.
  4. As an executive board member, students are committing to serve 10 hours per week in the SGA office and/or completing duties related to the executive board position.
  5. All candidates must qualify by the deadline date.
  6. All candidates must agree to abide by campaign regulations and rules set by the SGA advisor. Any violations of these regulations will result in disqualification.
  7. All candidates must be in good standing with the College and the community.

Section IV: Candidate Certification

  1. Candidates applying for office must obtain an official candidate's package, including a copy of the candidate election application, SGA candidate GPA verification form, candidate timeline, student conduct code, and the election code from the SOWELA website. Exceptions for special circumstances where a student is deemed eligible part-time include a student unable to enroll in 12 credit hours due to program prerequisites or limited courses offered for the program of study for a fall or spring semester. These special circumstances are not controlled by the student.
    1. The packet will be made accessible to all students accessing the SOWELA website.
    2. The application must be completed online and submitted, in its entirety, to Director of Student Services no later than close of business day, on the date listed on the official announcement in the election packet.
  2. No candidate may apply for more than one office in an SGA election.
  3. No elected or appointed SGA officer or student shall hold more than one position at any time.
  4. A mandatory candidates meeting will be held on the date listed on the official announcement in the Student Services offices at which time all candidates will have to submit a professional candidate photo.
  5. Candidates are responsible for all information covered during this meeting and the lack of knowledge will not be grounds for an appeal.
  6. The SGA advisor will be responsible for verifying the eligibility of all candidates. If a candidate fails to meet the qualification requirements, their name will automatically be removed from consideration, and they will be notified via email.
  7. Photos will be used for election purposes only.

Section V: Candidate Expenditures

  1. SOWELA is not financially responsible, but if a candidate feels that it is necessary to purchase items, candidate cannot exceed $150 for general, runoff, and special elections.
  2. Candidates will not solicit donations or support of any kind from private businesses or organizations. Candidates will not request or use SOWELA contractors or vendors for endorsement or dissemination of any campaign materials.
  3. Students should be prepared to present to the Director of Student Services an itemized list of all materials used in supporting campaign efforts. Failure to comply may result in candidate disqualification.
  4. SOWELA branding cannot be placed on any flyer.
  5. Failure to comply with the expenditure report guidelines will result in disqualification and not grounds for an appeal. This report should be inclusive of in-kind services.

Section VI: Campaign Materials

  1. Candidates can display and pass out approved campaign materials. Any materials that will be used to campaign will need to be approved by the Director of Student Services.
  2. Posters should be limited to no more than 20 per candidate. Posters are defined as any campaign material larger than 8.5″x14″ but smaller than 2'x3'. There is no limit on the amount of any campaign materials that are less than or equal to 8.5″x11″, standard paper size. Other campaign items, such as t-shirts and buttons, may be used as well.
  3. Defacing, removing, or otherwise tampering with any other candidate's election material is prohibited. Upon the filing of a written complaint by any candidate of alleged tampering, the election Board will convene within 48 hours to determine the legitimacy of the complaint. A written response will be forwarded to the complainant.
  4. All campaign material must be removed by the appointed deadline.
  5. Campaigning will contain only accurate and truthful information. All campaign materials must be pre-approved by the Director of Student Services or the Special Election Commissioner before being displayed.
    1. Campaign material cannot be posted to painted walls or glass of any campus property.
  6. No campaign paraphernalia may be worn while voting or brought to any area within 25 feet of the polls.
  7. All campaign material must be posted in approved and designated area. The candidates must follow the posting rules listed below:
    1. Students are allowed to distribute push cards and flyers.
    2. Students are allowed to campaign in common areas as long as not to disturb classes.
    3. Students are allowed to place campaign materials in designated areas in the bathrooms.
    4. Students are allowed to post campaign materials on designated SOWELA-sponsored bulletin boards.
    5. No postings allowed on any SOWELA campus walls, glass doors, vending machines, windows, trashcans, or benches.
    6. No campaign materials are allowed in the elevators. No signage is allowed outside campus building doors.
    7. Do not post signs over other postings.
    8. Posters, flyers, or push cards cannot be placed on windshields.
    9. Students may place signs on campus lawn with wooden or metal stakes.
    10. Students are allowed to place signs on laminated columns in the student center.
  8. Electronic Campaigning Etiquette
    1. Candidates are running to represent SOWELA. All campaigning must be professional. If using electronic methods to campaign, candidates need to follow internet policies. This includes, but is not limited to FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, IM, emails, text messaging, telephone solicitation, or any other methods of social networking.
    2. Emails or use of information from SOWELA-related accounts whether candidate or member of candidate's campaign team are not allowed.
    3. Links to electronic voting are not allowed.

Section VII: Solicitation at Polls

  1. No candidates or campaigning shall be within 25 feet of the voting polls, other than to cast their official vote or for official business in the designated area.
  2. No candidates or campaigning shall be within a college room that is equipped with a computer that is designated for student use. This applies to online elections only. Exceptions to this rule shall include:
    1. If a student must be in the designated room as part of their job description.
    2. If a candidate must pass through the designated room to access college services, only if other routes are inaccessible.
    3. If a student must use the designated room to utilize a computer for the advancement of their personal academic achievement.
  3. No campaign materials may be displayed or dispensed by the candidate within a college room that is equipped with a computer that is designated for student use.
  4. Campaigning in general is not permissible within a college room that is equipped with a computer that is designated for student use. No candidate or campaigning should be in the immediate vicinity of any student who is actively using a computer for any reason.

Section VIII: Appeals of Election

  1. Written appeals must be submitted to the Student Services Director within 48 hours following the close of the polls. No appeal will be considered after the 48-hour period has expired.
  2. A special committee will convene to review the appeal within 48 hours of its submission. A written response will be forwarded to the complainant within five business days.

General Information

A waiver of tuition, exclusive of student assessed fees, shall be granted by SOWELA for those elected positions of SGA President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The waiver of tuition shall remain in effect for the duration of the respective terms of office. In order to maintain the waiver of tuition, student must be able to commit to the following: serving two terms, attending special events, meet the GPA qualification, and serve 10 hours per week representing SGA.

Failure to perform duties as outlined in the SGA constitution or failure to perform the duties as set forth by the college shall result in a loss of the waiver and possible repayment of fees back to SOWELA.

Contact Information

Amy Gallien - Advisor
amy.gallien@sowela.edu

3820 Senator J. Bennett Johnston Avenue
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70615
(337) 421-6565
(800) 256-0483
info@sowela.edu

Mon-Thu: 7:45 AM to 4:15 PM
Friday: 7:45 AM to 12:00 PM
(337) 421-6550

SOWELA Technical Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person(s) have been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies:

Title IX Officer

Candy Parker

candy.parker@sowela.edu

(337) 421-6510 or (800) 256-0483

3820 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave. Lake Charles, LA 70615

ADA Officer

Maegan Lewis

maegan.lewis@sowela.edu

(337) 421-6952 or (800) 256-0483

3850 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave. Lake Charles, LA 70615

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