The Chronicle’s View: Don’t show me the money!

Last year students spent $33,213 running for 65 ASUU offices. That’s an average of $510 per position, even though each candidate did not spend the same amount of money.

The party that spent the most money last year, Grassroots, also won the most offices.

The most any one party may spend, according to election rules, is $11,500. Anyone would agree that’s a helluvalot of money to spend for a gold star on a rsum or application. But no one is willing to do anything about it, because it is believed that it is necessary to spend that much.

The election process uses too much money to promote the community’s elite to high offices on empty and meaningless political platforms. Sounds like every other electoral process. Politics is politics, so why should ASUU candidates be held to a higher standard?

If the system requires $11,500 to be spent by a party to win, let’s change the system!

Is it such a great system? Only 10 percent of students vote. Do the posters, pamphlets, stickers, booths, balloons, T-shirts and free food really make much difference?

We don’t think so.

Let’s get rid of some of the extravagance. We don’t need our student fees being used to buy free pancakes and bagels to “get the word out” about a party’s platform.

Parties don’t really need to “get the word out.” Every year it’s the same thing. Each party vows to increase student involvement, decrease the “commuter-campus” feel, promote fiscal responsibility, improve the Presenter’s Office and promote diversity. Every year that same platform is just reworded by the competing parties.

Or if making a good impression during the campaigning really requires $11,500, let’s shorten the campaign window. If we cut the timeframe in half, then won’t the parties need half as much money?

Waste aside, a process requiring that much money to be competitive is extremely exclusionary. That means only candidates with wealthy families or friends can compete.

How many ASUU senators or representatives would have made great presidents had they the money to launch a presidential campaign?

Real-world politics are exclusionary, too. Is that how it should be? No. Many successful politicians, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Howard Dean say reform is needed.

If reform is possible, it should start on college campus. Higher education is supposed to promote higher ideals.

Students, out of all demographics, should be interested in doing more with less money.