The Chronicle’s View: Students need to get informed on politics

The 2004-05 elections for the incoming Associated Students of the University of Utah administration are quickly approaching. Come mid-March, students will be responsible for selecting the leaders who will effectively be the representative faces of the U. With the longstanding history of student elections being notoriously unsubstantiated and based on nonissues, it is important for U students to get involved this time around in order to make sure such inadequacies do not plague our campus again. It may take a concerted effort on the part of students to ignore the wide variety of flashy signs and posters around campus, but such efforts would be wise.

Elections are serious business-they are not to be decided based on which party spent the most money campaigning. Sadly, this has been the case in past elections. Often, students will walk into the electoral process uninformed about pertinent issues, and as a result will make ignorant decisions which do not necessarily reflect their views.

Votes of this sort are not just misguided, but can be legitimately dangerous. Elected officials at any institution of higher education are afforded a great deal of control, and it goes without saying that great control in the wrong hands can lead to great wrongdoing.

If students expect their views to be heard and their interests to be upheld, they cannot walk into the March ASUU elections without any prior knowledge of what is going on. This behavior would be akin to voting for a candidate for president of the United States based on what color tie he was wearing in his campaign commercials-stupid.

There are several issues to which students should pay particular attention. First, how will the potential administrations handle their primary responsibility in office-the distribution of student funds? ASUU is in charge of nearly all of the student-accessible money on campus, and the mishandling of these funds is unacceptable. Students need to make sure they are well-aware of how each party plans on approaching this responsibility.

Second, how receptive are the different parties to student input? There has been a disturbing trend in past administrations to conduct meetings “behind closed doors.” Simply put, closed-door politics allow for a greater chance of corruptness and deceit. Whatever administration comes into office this year needs to be transparent in its planning.

Third, how will the potential administrations fight for and uphold student interests in the face of the state Legislature? Often in legislative meetings, only elected representatives will garner any respect from the legislators. It is imperative that whomever is elected into office accurately and diligently fights for the best interest of students.