Today and tomorrow’s Associated Students elections are, contrary to popular belief, incredibly important to our entire campus community — namely to the students.
As in previous years, the election results will likely be determined by a dangerously small percentage of our student body, as somewhere between 5 and 8 percent will likely vote, for whatever reason. Whose fault is that? Is it student apathy, or A.S. doing a bad job of getting the word out?
Actually, it doesn’t matter, at least not right now.
This semester’s candidates for the A.S. presidency, vice presidency and senate represent three very distinct visions of what a student government with a $5 million operating budget ought to spend its time doing. Each one of the candidate tickets or slates personifies its own opinion on what that money should be spent on.
Should our A.S. leaders spend a large amount of their time fighting “the big fights,” going up to Sacramento to lobby our legislators against budget cuts, tuition hikes and the elimination of the EOP program? Should more of the money A.S. draws from students be spent educating our community on these very issues, holding open forums, and organizing informational campaigns?
Or should our A.S. leaders instead be continuing this year’s tradition of spending money on large-scale programs, such the planned May 8 Big Show 5, headlined by Jimmy Eat World. Should the majority of our leaders’ time be spent on-campus, working on improving relationships and funding opportunities for our school’s most active student clubs and organizations, including the Greeks?
Or perhaps there’s even another way of looking at it. Should our A.S. leaders be new to the A.S. game, leading a campaign to bolster school spirit on this campus, swapping all those UCLA sweatshirts with CSUN sweatshirts? Additionally, what will full support of CSUN athletics do for this school’s public reputation in terms of getting more outside financial contributions?
These three visions of student leadership — fighting the big fights, efficient government relationships, and new leaders and school pride — are found in all 3 of the tickets and slates for A.S. on today and tomorrow’s election ballot.
Which candidates represent which vision? Go find out.
Each student pays a $64 A.S. “tax” as part of tuition, and should therefore help determine what exactly that money is going to be spent on. So, go up and ask someone. Within 100 feet of every election location, there will probably be campaign people from each ticket or slate passing out flyers. Ask them what they want to spend that money on. Are they for the big fights, or are they for a more on-campus focus? What about school pride?
Just ask. They’ll answer. If they don’t give the desired answer, vote for one of the other tickets or slates after talking to them. If they don’t answer at all, don’t vote. It’s that easy. Or call the A.S. office and ask. Track down Chad Charton, Zack Bates, or Enrique Galan, the three presidential candidates, somewhere around the A.S. office or at one of the election sites. They’ll be happy to tell students what’s what.
And this is just A.S. This week’s elections also determine the University Student Union Board of Directors and whether or not students should have to pay additional money to keep the Klotz Student Health Center running “full speed ahead.” Not sure? Students should take a stroll over to the Health Center during their lunch breaks and ask. If they can’t sway a student in a minute or two, go ahead and vote against it. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to do all this, and it’s a lot better than voting blindly simply because a person knows one of the candidates on a particular ticket or slate, and/or uses mere name recognition to make a decision.
This year’s ballot is representative of all the division and disagreement that typically makes U.S. presidential elections “sexy” enough to vote in. And students who don’t vote in A.S. elections often claim they do so because “it doesn’t affect them” or it “doesn’t matter.” If someone doesn’t care, that’s one thing. But if that person thinks they’re justified in not caring, that’s another.
Whether it’s a graduate student who might be doing research next year that’ll require funding, or a sophomore who has always wanted to start a new club or organization, or a senior who has for five years complained about how much tuition has gone up, the stakes are high.
It’s time for students to spend 10 minutes of their time determining how $5 million of their money will be spent.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the Sundial editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the entire staff.