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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Back to Basics: ASUA candidates: Refocus before general elections

    “”(The Associated Students of the University of Arizona is established to ensure the following): the articulation of student opinions and interests both in the governance of the university and to the community at large; the encouragement of the greatest level of cooperation and communication between students and student organizations; the assurance that students have full access to quality higher education at The University of Arizona; the provision for programs and services of benefit to students; and the encouragement of the highest level of excellence in education at The University of Arizona.””

    – Preamble, ASUA Constitution

    It’s student government election season here at the UA, but you can be forgiven if you haven’t been paying attention. With the preponderance of this year’s candidate platforms reading like a jumbled mass of ideas from elections past, there’s really no need.

    Take, for instance, a few gems offered up by some of the less savvy senatorial candidates: One wants to “”pass a bill that requires professors to send their booklists (to the UA bookstore) on time”” (presumably as a way to lower textbook prices), another promises to “”lobby the administration to increase the number of lecturing professors,”” while still another wants to “”divert and/or restrict”” Davis-Monthan Air Force Base operations that fly over the UA campus.

    However populist such propositions might seem, it’s clear that none of these ideas are particularly feasible. “”Never mind that none of our proposals are even remotely within the reach of the student government’s power,”” these candidates seem to say. “”We just know what students want to hear.””

    Thus does the student government campaign season become a farce, in which otherwise reasonable students race to offer the sexiest slogans, regardless of whether they can deliver on them.

    Whatever the pratfalls of campaign season, though, one would hope that candidates for ASUA would hearken back to the its constitution. At least according to that document, the role of student government is to provide “”access to quality higher education”” and “”programs and services of benefit to students,”” not gimmicks that are sure to garner votes.

    So before the general election, the candidates who made it out of this week’s primaries would do well to look to other successful student governments, governments that recognize the importance of uniting behind programs that are both relevant to students and realistic.

    The student government at the University of Colorado, for example, won national headlines and awards from the Environmental Protection Agency after it passed new student fees to convert their student union to wind power and to require that all new campus construction meet “”green building”” standards. It’s not farfetched to think that a more pragmatic ASUA could implement programs of a similar caliber.

    While candidates regroup before the general elections, then, they should ponder the purpose of ASUA as well as the role they hope to fill in that organization. Ultimately, offering up empty promises leaves nothing to be gained (including our endorsement), but seizing on relevant, realistic goals will mean that ASUA could realize the ideals of its own founding document.

    Opinions Board
    Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Damion LeeNatali, Stan Molever, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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