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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Editorial: Time for ASUA candidates to offer new ideas

    The candidates in ASUA’s special election aren’t looking as bright and shiny as they used to.

    The election to fill former Sen. Claire Theobald’s seat in the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate brought out eight students, who are each running on platforms such as making ASUA more accessible, more transparent and more open to the public.

    If that’s all an ASUA campaign platform really requires, perhaps the Arizona Daily Wildcat’s editorial board should consider running in next semester’s regular election.

    But seriously, is it too much to ask that ASUA stop talking about how it can better reach out to the 31,565 undergraduate students it represents and just reach out to them already?

    Platforms built on the notion of increasing accessibility or transparency really only say this: “ASUA already does stuff, and people just aren’t paying attention.” If the Daily Wildcat followed the same course of logic, we would just write stories about how we write stories.

    Candidates rarely seem willing to say, “ASUA can do more, and here’s how,” though Alex Barbee, a history junior and the election’s lone female candidate, might be onto something.

    That whole 24-hour coffee shop at the library is probably too ambitious, but Barbee does deserve some recognition for advocating for better disability access. Barbee, who shattered her pelvis in a car accident, spent six months in a wheelchair. The experience offered her more insight into an underserved population on campus and inspired her to consider people with disabilities in her platform.

    Candidate Jeffrey Rightnowar chose to focus on overall student retention rates and implementing efforts, such as a peer shadowing program, to help students become more invested in the UA.

    On the other hand, during a question and answer session hosted by ASUA on Tuesday night, Morgan Abraham, an engineering management junior, touted his experience as president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and Greek Life connections as qualifications for the senate seat. These connections would enable him to collaborate with ASUA and help bring Spring Fling to campus this year, he said.

    Bringing Spring Fling back to campus from Rillito Downs, where it has been held since 2000, has been a long-term initiative since at least 2011, under former ASUA President Emily Fritze, who was also a member of Chi Omega sorority. The offer isn’t new, but thanks for playing.

    The only idea that might have been less original and less interesting than “increasing accessibility to ASUA” likely belongs to candidate Jake Broido, who, at the Q & A on Tuesday, said he’d like to increase school spirit by organizing a barbecue on the UA Mall with students and athletes. Because, you know, the most pressing issue the UA must contend with is a lack of Wildcat pride.

    After years of being offered the same stale ideas, the new crop of candidates feels a lot like the bunch before. On occasion, the monotony is broken up by a particularly absurd idea, but for the most part, the mediocrity just remains mediocre.

    Increasing access for people with disabilities, improving student retention rates, improving graduation rates, representing more diversity on campus — these are real concerns. Making sure that people get to shake hands with an athlete or see a flier about ASUA Senate office hours is not an important issue. The problem is not how ASUA can make people more aware of student government’s existence, but how ASUA can better acknowledge the existence of students.

    — Editorials are determined by the Arizona Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Bethany Barnes, Kristina Bui, Jason Krell and Alex Williams. They can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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