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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Students not required to rely on ASUA for action

Change has never been the result of a single person’s hard work and willpower. We put leaders up on pedestals so far from our individual reach that it seems we may never have that impact on a community. We have expectations for people we vote for and hold them accountable. But, by depending too much on them, we disregard any expectations for ourselves in assisting any student movement.

It seems to me like we don’t see our campus as a place to voice our concerns for our own education. It should be the ultimate venue in which we are encouraged to speak out and be heard. There are student movements erupting each day across the globe for the same exact issues our student government seeks to address each year. Yet, issues concerning students’ rights are getting progressively worse in Arizona, including rising student debt and tuition increases. Looks like playing “”professional”” with our state politicians get us nowhere.

Some have asked me if it’s a bad thing to not care about student elections for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. Many are apathetic, a reoccurring student syndrome because “”we have so many other things to worry about.”” I reply with this: It’s not bad to not care much for ASUA elections, but what is detrimental and adds to your own ignorance is doing absolutely nothing about your concerns. We are each a social agent to taking charge of injustices to the student body. That’s a fact.

It’s crucial that we remain ready to mobilize our selves. We shouldn’t wait for someone to give us a flyer, telling us to vote for them without any recognition of who they are, what their values are or how they sincerely want to represent us. Some of us see student elections as a political game. And they’re absolutely right. It’s a game where we see just a select few students running around campus like crazy people, telling us when the dates are to vote without any identifying theme of change. The change will happen when they’re elected, they’ll say. I say it should happen now, with or without them.  

A request for a vote should be a demand for student activism. While I’m standing in line at Core for an hour on $3 Wednesday, I shouldn’t be asked if I’ve voted by a candidate. I should be asked how I want to see this campus change. Each moment with a student should be a glimpse into the reality of someone who will never participate in that capacity of student representation. Working outside the system should be just as relevant to student agency as that one student who will sit in their own cubicle without a majority of the student body knowing what their platform is or ever was.

According to an article in reaction to global student movements called “”Left Behind? American Youth and the Global Fight for Democracy,”” in a non-profit independent news source called Truthout, “”Democracy is no longer being defended. It is being reinvented as a kind of shared existence that makes the political possible.”” We have to reinvent the way we view democracy on our campus. If it’s not that shared existence, we’ll be just as dissatisfied as the last year.

We need to create a campus that serves to combat the reality we’re in. The reality where we’re not guaranteed jobs when we graduate or have to work three jobs during graduate school while paying for undergraduate student debt. As students in this state, we aren’t guaranteed anything but tuition increases.

We cannot count on our student government to fix our campus. The democracy we live in will always shortchange students, even one led by students. The change has to be a two-way street, one in which we demand from our leaders what we truly need and the other way being what we demand of ourselves to create change on our own.

An ultimate and visible revolution won’t come from within the system. The advantage to not being held accountable by a constituency is that your limits are endless. Your visions aren’t structured and the change you imagine for your campus aren’t defined by a role. The only role you can create is being part of a student body that elected officials always answer to, not against.  

— Elisa Meza is a junior studying English. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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