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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Updated: Finding good ASUA candidates almost impossible

    ASUA elections are a good reminder of how ideological freshmen are.

    In interviews with the Daily Wildcat, candidates said the most important issue is “getting ASUA out there.” These hopeful first-years believe students don’t know enough about the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and want to increase student government’s visibility on campus. That’s cute, but not a real issue, and certainly not the most important one.

    The candidate pool was once again filled with freshmen and political science majors. If student government is going to represent UA undergraduates, it should be diverse.

    There are only a few stars that shine out of an otherwise shallow candidate pool.

    President

    Neither candidate offered concrete plans to pursue overarching changes in ASUA and with its members. While they have platforms, both suggest projects that sound far too similar to what the Senate suggests. If there’s no difference between a senator and president’s goals, then why is there a separate office? At this point, neither candidate is endorsable.

    Administrative Vice President

    Both candidates presented several strong new ideas on how to improve ASUA as a whole. However, only one offered a set of realistic and achievable goals.

    Paige Sager, a marketing junior, immediately listed what she saw as weaknesses in how the position is run now, and spoke about several ways to improve it. Some of Sager’s ideas include a monthly philanthropy project to unite the different branches of ASUA, introducing public participation in meetings and changing the dates of Bear Down Camp to make it available to all incoming students.

    Executive Vice President

    Visibility, website redesign and meeting schedule changes. Apparently those issues are what pass for important in this race. Because neither candidate had anything substantial to offer or stood out, no endorsements here either.

    Senate

    Logan Bilby, a marketing sophomore, was the most forward-thinking and well researched candidate. His goals are realistic, can be accomplished within the one-year term and are fine-tuned to factor in other ASUA failures. Bilby’s philosophy is senators should “stop talking about transparency and start showing students you’re transparent through action.”

    Alex Chang, a biochemistry freshman, offers an outside perspective. Chang was involved with the Residence Hall Association and watched ASUA’s affairs with a critical mind. He hopes to increase diversity by continuing and expanding the diversity coalition in place now. Also, Chang believes that ASUA’s Safety Fair is too focused on Spring Break and safety should be addressed throughout the year — including an expansion from just physical harm to mental health as well. The Senate needs someone who is not just looking to add a new program or event, but is willing to critically look at current programs and work to improve them.

    Valerie Hanna, a political science freshman, had a focused and down-to-earth attitude about the rising tuition costs and reevaluating fees. Hanna noted that most of the fees students pay were passed in 2008, before today’s economic problems. She said each fee should be analyzed to see if some can be lowered or cut to lift the financial burden from students’ shoulders. Students concerned about being represented in discussions with UA administration and Arizona politicians should vote for Hanna.

    Vinson Liu, a physiology freshman, plans to set up a system to enforce ASUA’s bylaws and deadlines. According to Liu, previous senators have been distracted from the true purpose of college: academics. His goals include working on the adviser-student ratio, improving degree placement and making Scholarship Universe more efficient. For someone who is concerned with real campus improvement and practical solutions, Liu is a good choice.

    Claire Theobald, a political science freshman, was the only candidate to offer a solution to being more accountable — creating an office or board that acts as a check on the Senate. “A senator can’t act as a check on another senator,” she said, “They’re on the same level. There needs to be someone they answer to.” Theobald raised several good points about changes in ASUA’s bylaws and structure, and how to enforce them. Theobald’s commitment to open government and realistic plans to enact change make her an excellent candidate.

    — Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Bethany Barnes, Kristina Bui, Steven Kwan, Luke Money and Michelle A. Monroe. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

    Correction: The original version of this editorial misstated the title of Administrative Vice President. The Daily Wildcat regrets the error.

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