ASUU elections process in need of renovation

By Chronicle Senior Staff

We have reached a watershed in ASUU elections-participation is down, controversy is up. Issues are falling by the wayside at the same time that banner placement is becoming a key component to a candidate’s success.

We need to either start improving the quality of elections or admit defeat and allow the democratic process at the U to be continuously de-legitimated.

There can be value in student government, but if something isn’t done to make elections more about qualifications and issues, we might as well just stop having them.

The Associated Students of the University of Utah needs to make a strong effort next year to get more people involved in the elections themselves, and then promote them in such a way that students on campus know what is going on and why they should care about it.

After all, if ASUU can’t promote itself to students during the weeks when a new administration is chosen, how valuable is ASUU? One would think that elections would be the most important time of the year. Yet aside from those who ran and those who regulated, who made any effort to promote this process to students?

If this is just a glorified popularity contest, why are we still holding it? If everything really comes down to the party, who can raise the most money and print the prettiest posters-who, in essence, can host the best week-long Gap commercial on campus-why should any of us continue to waste our time?

This year, the number of debates was reduced from 12 to two. These two debates were barely worth attending-not due to the fault of the candidates participating in them but to the sheer frivolity of the process as a whole.

In years past, different student groups hosted debates so students could see how candidates felt about issues that related specifically to them.

Candidates should be questioned at length on many different issues so students can see where they differ-and not just that they are very similar in many respects. At the very least, we would be able to see differences in leadership and communication style, which is important, considering the role that the ASUU president and vice president play in representing the U’s interests to the Utah State Legislature.

We need to improve the level of discourse present in these elections-otherwise, what are they good for?

If we don’t make an election about relevant issues or a candidate’s credentials, then by default, we make decisions about who can print up the most and best-looking posters.