The Chronicle’s View: Strong student governments must have honest foundations

This week brings belated, but welcome, news from the Associated Students of the University of Utah: ASUU officials are finally launching a new Web site intended to get more students involved in campus activity.

Don’t misinterpret: Campus involvement ought to be of paramount concern to college students, especially at a commuter-campus school like the U-real involvement is one of the only ways to generate passion and alter the apathetic dynamic of our school.

For their efforts to help students get active, ASUU should be applauded. It goes without saying that apathetic students won’t take it upon themselves to discover ways to become involved, so an easily accessible, student-friendly Web site like the one being launched is a step in the right direction.

However, on a slightly more critical note, the Web site should have been created months and months ago, as it was repeatedly promised in the platform of now-ASUU President and Vice President Alex Lowe and Bobby Harrington.

More than that, the extreme tardiness of this undertaking-however admirable-opens up an entirely other (though not necessarily new) can of worms: At what point should student-government officials be held accountable for not coming through on their promises in a punctual fashion? When should students stop praising their officials and make a stand? When is late not actually better than never?

This is not to say that the Web site is a bad idea-as we’ve already asserted, it is not-but the manner in which its creation is coming about defiantly is.

Students vote for their leadership based on what we can only perceive to be sincere and honest claims made by candidates.

Although our better judgment-and the obvious historical evidence to the contrary-student voters really have nothing else to base their decisions on than what ASUU-hopefuls tell us. It’s a flawed system, but until mind reading becomes an accredited major at the U, it’s the best we’ve got.

This unfortunate situation posits several expectations for candidates in order to help ensure that the election process not become a mockery of itself: 1) Unless willing to acknowledge that the entire process is a farce, ASUU candidates must mean what they say and say what they mean, 2) The platforms on which ASUU candidates run must not be fantastic in nature, but rooted in pragmatic application, and 3) That when elected, the promises made by the officials must be satisfied, lest students begin to feel (as many already do) that not only do their votes not matter, they actually might do more harm than good by electing someone who does not represent what they were perceived to stand for.

Everyone understands that creating systems from scratch, or attempting to revolutionize student life, is no easy feat, but perhaps instead of spending extraneous amounts of time dealing with trivialities and inconsequential administrative red tape, it’s fair to expect our leaders to follow through on their platforms-and equally important, to do so in a timely and reasonable fashion.

Let it be a warning to Ali Hasnain and his incoming Students First party: The U has expressed its support and belief in your direction. Now comes the time to actually prove that you are not all talk-now comes the time to come through for the people that got you where you are today.