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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Is anybody out there?

Emily Fritze’s latest correspondence comes off a little desperate.

In an e-mail sent out Tuesday, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona president urged students to “”get more involved on campus while influencing policy and university programming”” by applying for ASUA safety executive director, diversity executive director or one of three marketing director positions.

Possible overstatement of ASUA’s efficacy on campus aside, it’s surprising to see so many executive positions still vacant two weeks into the academic year, especially considering each position comes with a generous stipend — between $800 and $1,000.

In the UA’s current state of turmoil, both economically and politically, students should be jumping at the chance to be involved in “”influencing policy”” while earning a decent supplementary income. But it seems no one’s biting.

Fritze clarified that the positions do have some applicants, but that “”some years we just wait to get a bigger pool.”” Translation: those who have applied for the positions probably aren’t as qualified as ASUA was hoping for.

The trend of a limited pool is not a brand new one for ASUA. Fritze herself ran unopposed for president, as did Katherine Weingartner, current executive vice president. Former President Chris Nagata had just one opponent.

The current senators faced a slightly more contentious battle, but even there, students had a too-small range of candidates to choose from. Not a single 2009-10 ASUA senator ran for re-election. In fact, many of the current senators were freshmen when they launched their campaigns. While their enthusiasm is admirable, their youth means few of them came into ASUA with a clear picture of its role on campus. Unfortunately, older, more experienced candidates were nowhere to be found.

The question, then, is why qualified students are so reluctant to throw their hats into the ring for important campus positions. As Fritze noted, areas within ASUA like Zona Zoo and special events — read: the fun parts — have no shortage of interested parties. What student doesn’t love to attend sporting events for free or throw way-over-budget concerts?

The dearth comes in the hard stuff; those who should be making tough decisions, withstanding criticism, voicing concerns or working behind the scenes for actual change on this campus. Whether that’s what they’re actually up to most of the time, those are student governments’ real jobs.

Is the lack of qualified candidates the fault of ASUA as an organization? Perhaps. Over the last several years, many students’ attitude toward the organization seems to be derision. They refer to it as “”a joke”” and leave it at that.

But that’s the easy way out. ASUA has made some gaffes — big ones — in recent years. But like it or not, the organization has a $1.3 million budget and, yes, the oft-forfeited opportunity to influence major campus issues like tuition and student fees. Students should care.

Apathy is not an acceptable reaction to times like these. Assuming entities like ASUA are stupid and not worth your time doesn’t get rid of mediocrity — it perpetuates it.

Yes, not caring is easier. Trying to break into an in-group dominated student government and affect actual change would take serious mobilization, strategy and effort. And as seen by the fact that the current president still has major cabinet positions to fill, most people would rather be on the hypercritical outside looking in. And that’s pretty pathetic.

Think you’re better? Smarter? More qualified?

Prove it.

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members.  They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

 

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