The Chronicle’s View: ‘F’ is for failure

It’s certainly a paradox, and it would not be acceptable in any other sphere: The Associated Students of the University of Utah’s Student Senate is intended to “be an effective student Senate of respectable character…and to be empowered with a sense of accountability to the students [of the U].”

Yet over and over again, numerous student senators have neglected their duties and responsibilities.

Much as a student who misses a great number of classes although he or she knows that he or she is required and obligated to be there on time, every day, many senators have apparently decided that their positions are not that important-four out of the 16 members of the Senate were unaccounted for in nearly every senatorial meeting that took place over the Fall Semester, with some missing all but two.

Really, it’s not even an issue of debate: Such gross negligence is unacceptable and abhorrent for a number of reasons, but only the most obvious will have room to be approached in this editorial column.

Consider the context of the senators neglect: Student senators are effectively the mouthpieces of the student body-they are the students imbued with the ability to make heard concerns, complaints, requests and control a degree of funding for students and student-oriented groups. They are supposed to be approachable. They are supposed to be responsible. They are supposed to represent the greater interests and qualities of the U’s student body. Clearly, this is not being accomplished.

When some senators are incapable-for whatever reason-of attending more than two of 10 meetings last semester, it’s hard not to notice something is wrong.

What is worse is the fact that, whether or not we realize it, as the student body, we have been lied to.

It is assumed when a senator is elected that he or she will live up to her duties to the best of his or her ability. Should something come up that causes said senator to compromise his or her respective duties, a change needs to be made. However, no changes have been made. The promises that candidates made have, as is often the case, been repeatedly broken.

Think about what would happen if other students behaved as the ASUU senators have over the past term. A student who went to 20 percent of classes would fail. At a job (certainly here at The Chronicle), if a staff member attended 20 percent of workdays, he or she would be fired. If nothing else, disciplinary action would be taken.

That’s another frustratingly paradoxical part of this senatorial dilemma-the absurd degree to which the student senators have not been held accountable for their actions.

With campaign season gearing up, there is most assuredly a lesson to be gleaned from all this, for both voting students and hopeful candidates.

The lesson is simple and it is this: Do not lie to your constituents, do not neglect the duties that you so avidly sought and do not presume that gross irresponsibility is acceptable.

Students, do not allow yourself to be lied to, do not be taken advantage of and actively pursue the accountability of your elected officials because, when it comes down to it, their negligence hurts you more than it does them, as unfair as that may be.