Elections give students chance to rock the vote

by Beacon Staff • October 13, 2011

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Candidates run unopposed in special elections

strongOur take: /strong

Students must invest themselves in student government.

Last semester, nine candidates ran unopposed for positions on Emerson’s Student Government Association. Even the presidential seat was left unsought until a write-in candidate stepped up and won 240 votes to 37.

Now with a new school year underway, two positions — communication and sciences disorders senator and class of 2013 treasurer — still remain vacant and up for grabs until 11:59 p.m.. Enthusiasm for these races is as dismal as it was for elections last spring — perhaps more.

It has been tested in the real world that the absence of competitive campaigning breeds lazy leadership. At Emerson, there is no reason for SGA officials who won unopposed races to feel their seats are in jeopardy without healthy competition and stronger student interest in who spends our money and how.

We have a president a href=http://berkeleybeacon.com/2011/04/2011-2012-sga-election-results/ target=_blankelected by roughly seven percent/a of our student body. The vice president and treasurer even fewer. And every other elected official received fewer than 50 votes. Two of nine seats in our government have yet to be filled after almost two rounds of elections. With such low voter turnout, we are a long way off from an SGA that represents the entire student body.

This disturbing trend reveals a frightening lack of investment in advocating for the wants and needs of Emerson students. The SGA is responsible for vocalizing the general issues this community endures, and for making efforts to eliminate them. But if the student body has no innate regard for electing worthy, committed representatives, then who will take responsibility and effect change?

As members of various extracurricular organizations, students are entitled to their fair share of the student activities fees budget. Standing in front of joint SGA sessions, they appeal for the funds needed to make their events thrive — sometimes with mixed success. But how can anyone criticize the decisions made by our student government if we don’t take the time to decide who we entrust with that responsibility?

Less than 12 hours remain before a new SGA senator, one we will give the right to vote on decisions we deem important, is brought into office. As a student body, it is our duty to make our preference known — to lead with our ballots.

Let leadership be defined by the moment you encourage your roommates and friends to vote. Take 10 minutes out of your day to see who these write-in contenders are and help elect the candidates you believe will best serve us. Not simply because they exist, but because there’s a chance they’ll represent you.

We cannot continue to allow our representation be self-selected.

emstrongUpdate: /strongAn earlier version of this article stated that every SGA official besides the president was elected by less than 50 votes. Vice President Tau Zaman received 204 votes and Executive Treasurer Tanya Flink was elected by 150./em