Elections are illegitimate if more students don’t get involved

By By Chronicle Senior Staff

By Chronicle Senior Staff

Participation in this year’s Associated Students of the University of Utah elections is at an all-time low. Only two parties have formed, eliminating the need for a primary election. Fourteen seats in the ASUU General Assembly and Senate are running unopposed.

If we want to have a real student government at the U, this sort of participation is unacceptable.

Running without opposition is not legitimacy. Those who run for Senate or Assembly unopposed should feel like frauds because they haven’t really earned the right to represent their constituents. They should work twice as hard to prove that they really do have students’ interests in mind.

Obviously, there is nothing to be done at this point-but we need to take notice of this year’s poor participation and plan to improve it in the future.

ASUU spent $9,000 advertising that “Elections Are Coming.”

The results of such a vague and passive advertising scheme are obvious: two parties and 14 unopposed seats.

Rather than mildly announcing the fact that students all over campus can expect to be annoyed by student politicians in the coming weeks, perhaps ASUU should have actually made some effort to recruit students to become involved in student government.

Yes, there is the argument that this is a commuter campus and not many students have time to get involved in ASUU-but the fact is that we haven’t had an election in recent memory where participation was so low. Obviously, something has changed to render this all-time high level of apathy.

This trend cannot continue if ASUU is to survive. While individual students are somewhat responsible for this poor involvement, the only entity that can revamp ASUU is ASUU itself.

ASUU has set itself up like an exclusive social club. People join a board, perhaps get appointed to some position of prominence and eventually run for something. Everything is kept in-house, and at no point does ASUU make an effort to bring in fresh blood from different avenues of campus life.

Yes, ASUU is very exclusive, to the point that the average student on campus doesn’t know what it is, what it does or who they should contact if they feel they need representation from their student government.

Now that exclusivity has rendered the ultimate results-a pool of potential candidates smaller than any year in recent memory.

ASUU in danger of phasing itself out of existence. It needs to start opening itself up to students-otherwise, maybe no one will run next year.