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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Dear ASUA: It’s over

If you’re interested in the inner workings of student government, and a huge glutton for punishment, the last three and a half weeks have been phenomenal.

After a contentious presidential election in which a student who has become a national hero after the tragic events of Jan. 8 was, shockingly, trounced by his opponent in the general election, things managed to get even weirder.

First, both presidential candidates in the Associated Students of the University of Arizona general election were disqualified, allegedly for having collected too many violations under ASUA’s hilariously baffling elections code. Then, Elections Commissioner Michael Colletti thought it would be fun to exercise power he doesn’t have by withholding information about the nature of the violations. He demanded that media representatives file public records requests, and briefly and erroneously cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as the reason he would not release the records.

And then came Tuesday night’s hearing before ASUA’s Supreme Court, which is, as far as I can tell, one of the only legitimate and well-run apparatuses of the organization. Probably because it’s helmed by law students, who tend to be serious folks.

As I followed the live tweets from the hearing, during which both James Allen and Daniel Hernandez appealed their elections violations, I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry.

It was as if finally, the mask of shiny campaign material and cute dress clothes that tries to lend ASUA legitimacy had been peeled off. The hearing, with its perpetual he-said-she-said, the bizarre presence of Allen’s bombastic attorney throwing around phrases like “”constructive fraud,”” Colletti and his counsel’s sputtering attempts to claim the violations issued had even a little evidence, was sheer farce. And watching it unfold from afar, something in me snapped.

Allen and Hernandez each had a violation overturned by the court, bringing each of their total checks down to nine. Allen could be president now, though Colletti could choose to disqualify Allen anyway. Honestly, I don’t care. Not even kind of.

Here’s the thing, ASUA: I’m not one of those apathetic students who just doesn’t know all that you do, and that’s why I don’t “”appreciate”” you. I’ve voted in every ASUA election since my freshman year. I don’t have friends in the organization, so all my votes have been cast for people I imagined might be good student leaders. And while a few have met my expectations, for the most part I have spent four years feeling totally let down by my student government.

ASUA, you’re like that boy all my friends told me not to date. “”He’s a jerk,”” they told me. “”He doesn’t call girls back, he plays them. He’ll let you down.””

But I believed Oprah when she said people could change. I believed if I tried hard enough, I could turn that boy, that rude, sloppy college kid, into a man. I thought maybe for me, he’d try. (Are you following along? This is still a metaphor.)

So for four years, I have kept trying. I know that in a breakup it’s cruel to bring up old fights, but remember that time ASUA lost $1 million on a concert no one went to? Yeah, well, I do.

Or remember when the “”popular”” presidential candidate didn’t manage to actually get on the ballot, but campaigned as if he had? Remember when a write-in vote consisted of writing the candidate’s name next to his name printed right there? Remember when the elections commissioner thought it was OK to change the ballot halfway through voting? Yeah, well, I do.

And individually, each misstep could be chalked up to the difficulty of running a student government. I get that. And I know a lot of people in the organization do their jobs extremely well and care a lot about the students. I wish those people could tell everyone else to be cool.

But altogether, and topped by this year’s utter disaster of a fair, transparent election, it’s just too much. I’m a graduating senior, so I won’t get to experience whatever comes out of this mess. Good riddance, I guess.

Oprah gained all the weight back, and the boy I thought I could change (that’s still you, ASUA) turned out to be a dud, after all. So, after four excruciating years, together and apart, I just have to say it: ASUA, it’s over. Have a nice life.

 

— Heather Price-Wright is the assistant arts editor for the Daily Wildcat. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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