Many ASUU candidates yield few actual agendas

By and

During my four years at the U, I have found that whenever student government elections come around, my normal path to class is significantly disturbed. Whereas I usually have a normal route that I walk from the TRAX station to the library or OSH, I instead find myself hiking through large snowdrifts to avoid the annoying popularity fest that is student government elections.

I have found that I have become severely apathetic to elections for the Associated Students of the University of Utah through my time at the U. It should be the aim of ASUU to reach out to apathetic students such as myself.

I love politics. Subsequently, I hate campus politics.

Having devoted a significantly large amount of my life to working in politics, I understand the frustration toward apathetic voters who seem to care nothing about the issues. This may seem hypocritical of me, but forgive me if I care more about urban poverty than I do about The Grand Kerfuffle.

The percentage of Americans who vote in general elections is about 55 percent. The number of students who voted in last year’s ASUU elections was a whopping 12 percent. The reasons for apathy are endless, and these reasons are being hashed over by all four parties’ candidates right now while they are trying to get votes.

The primary reason people don’t vote is that they have no connection to the government. The same goes for ASUU elections. Students do enjoy Redfest and Crimson Nights. However, when you consider that there are more than 28,000 students on campus, the disconnect is apparent.

The student government needs to get back to its three primary missions:

1. To provide for the general welfare of students attending the U.

2. To represent students and initiate action upon issues arising in the U’s community.

3. To ensure student participation on the academic and administrative policy-making levels of the U.

ASUU needs to decide how to best apply these policies to the campus as a whole. I strongly doubt that building a substantive new parking structure or promising free internships to study abroad is going to enhance student welfare at the U. It is also difficult to know where the FUSE Party stands on student issues because-as of yesterday-its candidates have no party platform that can be viewed by students online. I would think that before showing pictures and biographies of candidates, the candidates would first show students how they plan to help them.

The Forward Party is the only party that seems to have an agenda to enforce the mission of ASUU. Citing the apparent disconnect between ASUU and students in its platform, the Forward Party sets forth five proposals that will enable students to use the resources of their student government. Publishing assembly meeting times and locations, creating a blog for students to give input on campus issues and creating an ASUU newsletter for students are important steps in connecting the student government with students. I am skeptical of the idea of a mobile ASUU trailer fancying its way through campus, but I think a more deliberative process with the entire student body is what the U needs.

I have never been involved with ASUU because I always felt its ideas were juvenile and inconsequential to the mission of a university. I do, however, feel that the aim of any government should be a connection with the people it represents, and that should be your objective when searching the party platforms and the ideas of the candidates.