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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Editorial: ASUA pursues transparency, accountability, irony”

We spoke too soon. On Wednesday morning, it felt like ASUA was turning a corner. By Wednesday night, student government had circled the block and ended up back where it always does: at disappointment.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s website dedicated to information about the elections still had a giant graphic on its front, with the words, “”Who will win?”” Apparently, no one running for president did.

Elections for ASUA have rarely been so interesting. Candidate James Allen held his own against Daniel Hernandez Jr., who many people thought would have had the race in the bag because of his national recognition. But primary election results demonstrated a genuinely competitive race. In the days leading up to voting in general elections, some rumors of election code violations flew.

These rumors only got worse on Wednesday night, when election results were announced and both ASUA presidential candidates were disqualified from the race.

And the rumors only continue to grow as ASUA Elections Commissioner Michael Colletti refuses to comment on the specific details of the mysterious election code violations that disqualified Allen and Hernandez. Repeated requests for more information from Colletti and ASUA President Emily Fritze went unanswered until Thursday evening, when Colletti claimed he could not release details because of restrictions placed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. However, FERPA does not apply to ASUA election information. He also suggested that the Arizona Daily Wildcat file a public records request, thus admitting the records are public.

ASUA elections codes mandate anything from campaign finances, the location of campaigning, the posting of flyers and the use of social media. But the rumors have gone so far as to suggest that the candidates were buying their votes. These rumors are, most likely, far-fetched and should be dismissed as nonsense on the grapevine; however, the only way to be sure would be to know exactly why both candidates were disqualified at the last minute.

Allen and Hernandez (and pretty much every candidate running for any office) campaigned on the notion that ASUA needs more transparency and accountability. Students should be aware of what ASUA does and doesn’t do for its constituents, and this information should be made readily available to them. Every year, candidates claim that, if elected, they’ll do their damndest to hold ASUA accountable to students for its actions.

Fritze made a blog to help increase transparency in ASUA. However, the most recent post is from March 4. A major event and a tumultuous elections night and no word from the ASUA president? Fail.

The argument that no one knows what ASUA does except for the people inside ASUA should be pretty stale. It’s not. Unfortunately, the baffling, suspicious level of quiet coming from ASUA shortly after election results were announced demonstrates why people continue to make this argument.

Keeping secrets won’t put rumors to rest, and it certainly won’t help positively change anyone’s perception of ASUA.

Do you hear that awkward silence? That’s your student government, working “”for you.””

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Kristina Bui, Ken Contrata, Michelle A. Monroe and Heather Price-Wright. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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