Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Student Body Elections

Early in my university career I took a political science class taught by one of Utah’s more popular pollsters, Dan Jones. Two of the salient points in his class were that democracy is not for the weak hearted, and that it is one’s duty as a citizen to vote. Back in November, I took the opportunity to rant about why voting is important, but I find myself in a conundrum when it comes to the current student body elections at the University of Utah. Two parties: Pinc, and Students First. In the past, these elections were easy because I knew one of the candidates. This year, not knowing any of the candidates, I just don’t know what to do. It feels like a contest with popularity, a resume item, and a full tuition stipend as the reward. Yes, ASUU (associated students of the university of utah) receives a good portion of my “fees” each semester, and for that reason it is probably important to think about who I would vote for, but with essentially identical platforms, is there really a difference? Are we electing the best candidate, or just the person with the most friends, and “prettiest” campaign?

I spent some time on the two websites, and it just re-affirmed my dislike for flash websites. Sure, they look pretty, but they are hard to navigate. Does the person elected as student body president really change the operations of the university? I suppose that if he really wanted to, he could. However, I haven’t seen much of it in the last four years. A couple of nice leadership training programs, a new office for this that or the other, and bigger parties, all on the behalf of “the students”.

Maybe I should pay more attention to what is going on in the ASUU offices. Supposedly they are quite transparent. At this point, I just want a party to distinguish its self and give me a real reason to vote for them. Otherwise, on what should I base my decision? I read a poster that claimed only 9,000 students out of the 25,000+ voted in last year’s student body elections, only 36%. I really don’t want to be a part of the 64% non-voting student population, but at the same time, I don’t want to play multiple guess with the ballot either.

Ideas?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I for one, do NOT want Chimichangas for lunch next year!

Joe said...

You don't like latin food? I don't think that ASUU has much, if any, power over Chartwell's, so Chimichangas? Why not!

Anonymous said...

It was a reference to Napolean Dynamite movie and a joke made in a high school election speech. (See the movie...it's hillarious!)

Joe said...

*removes foot from mouth*

Sorry for not catching the reference! Maybe I am just a bit too intense.

Just another CS student said...

I could go for some chimichangas right about now.

As for the elections, it's hard to argue that ASUU does much for anybody. But two things are true: they're going to get our money anyway (over $300/student last year) and they do represent U students at the state legislature. This year we'll see a 6% tuition hike. Sounds like a lot, but thanks to guys like Taylor Morgan (from PINC) it's 6% and not the proposed 12%. That's why PINC gets my vote.