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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    One thousand, one hundred and sixty-five UA students voted yesterday in a special election to fill a vacant seat in the Associated Students of the University of Arizona senate. What was intriguing about this unremarkable event was that it amounted to a university-wide referendum on ASUA.

    While ASUA general elections provide a dizzying lineup of candidates and programs, the fact that only two candidates were running this time considerably sharpened the level of debate. Both candidates offered a distinct vision of what they wanted to bring to the position. Whatever your opinion of ASUA, you had a chance to voice it.

    When asked what they wanted to change about the student government, Andre Rubio – a member of ASUA President Tommy Bruce’s cabinet – simply said he wanted to better inform students about the “”top notch”” things ASUA was doing. In short, a vote for Rubio was a vote of confidence in ASUA.

    Dominick Plado, meanwhile, ran on a platform of reform. He called for sweeping changes in the way ASUA is elected and instituted: “”Every college (should) elect its own senator, and all of these senators (should) come together to form the ASUA senate.”” If you’re indifferent to ASUA or actively hostile toward it, Plado was your candidate.

    Yet beyond this single major reform proposal – which it’s unlikely a single freshman senator would be able to enact – Plado’s criticisms of ASUA were disappointingly vague and even contradictory.

    Plado is probably right that “”students feel as if they don’t matter to ASUA.”” Yet he attributed this to “”a lack of education about the programs and services that ASUA offers,”” which sounded identical to Rubio’s platform.

    It’s doubtful whether inundating students with emails about their student government’s great accomplishments or accosting them on the UA Mall would do much to interest them in ASUA. Most students are indifferent to ASUA because they haven’t seen it bring forth many accomplishments.

    For all its officers’ undoubtedly good intentions, ASUA has a limited ability to accomplish anything significant. No one in a position of power – the various college administrations, President Robert Shelton, the Board of Regents – is obliged to listen to it. Student indifference to ASUA reflects the widespread suspicion, fair or not, that the government is little more than a club for popular students.

    That’s why Plado’s criticisms of ASUA as an institution rang truer to our ears than Rubio’s emphasis on “”educating”” students on what “”ASUA is doing … for them.”” Plado’s call for election reform certainly raised questions we haven’t been hearing from ASUA. Is the current method of electing officials making it difficult for different colleges’ interests to be heard? Would a more college-oriented approach be more democratic, or would it disenfranchise students by preventing them from voting for anyone who wasn’t running for their particular college?

    Whatever the actual effects of the election, rousing students to take an interest in the politics of their community can only be a good thing. We hope their interest doesn’t flag before November, when they’ll be voting in another two-candidate contest with far more important consequences for their future.

    Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Andi Berlin, Justyn Dillingham, Lauren LePage, Lance Madden and Nick Seibel.

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