The Chronicle’s View

By , , , and

We all hear the same arguments this time in Spring Semester, year after year:

You can make a difference in campus politics. You can control the way your student fees are spent. You can have a voice on the Board of Trustees.

So get out and vote in the Associated Students of the University of Utah elections this year, we hear.

And yet, year after year, everyone involved counts the election a grand success if more than the anticipated 10 percent of the student population actually show up to cast a ballot.

Many students don?t even know what ASUU stands for, let alone care.

Some potential voters figure there is little to no difference between candidates. Some think ASUU exercises no real political muscle, either on campus or at the Utah State Legislature. And some just can?t be bothered for five minutes of their time.

Those kinds of arguments are what keep ASUU controlled by 10 percent of the student body. And those kinds of arguments hold no water.

Take student fees, for instance. ASUU gets $1 million of student money, taken out of student tuition, every year. And because student fees are based on a percentage system, when tuition goes up (as it inevitably will, this year and in the future), so do fees.

And when ASUU gets the idea to build a new building, as it recently did with the student recreation center, it can significantly raise student fees even more without answering to anyone except the administration and that 10 percent who decide to vote.

Also, the president of ASUU has a seat on the Board of Trustees, which means he or she has a direct say on tuition hikes, among other things.

So ASUU does have a tangible power over students? finances.

With this money, ASUU has within its power the ability to create campus child care, to finance student groups, to divvy out scholarships, to build a multi million dollar building.

Yet no one shows up to vote.

This is silly. Students should educate themselves on the issues, pick out which are most relevant to them, talk with the candidates, and make informed decisions on who is the most qualified to represent their views.

Today and tomorrow, students should vote in the primary elections, online at www.asuu.utah.edu or in the A. Ray Olpin University Union.

And if you are one of the students who feels your vote makes no difference on campus, then tell ASUU by making a protest vote by writing in ?no one.?

But don?t not vote. Don?t throw away your representative democratic power on campus.