Earlier this week, ASCSU kicked off the campaign to publicize their upcoming elections due to start in a little over a month.
Now let me translate that into something a little more familiar-one more month to go until the annual free giveaway of t-shirts, pens, pencils, bottle openers, food and other assorted semi-useful things, all emblazoned with a couple of weird names. Names you will hopefully remember when (and if) you vote two weeks later.
In a little over a month, each and every student will have the opportunity to vote for the person whom they believe to be the most qualified, most capable, and most well-spoken leader this campus of 23,000 plus students has to offer. A leader whose integrity, work ethic, intelligence and motivation exceeds all others. A leader with the best pens, pencils, t-shirts and food money can buy.
What’s wrong with this picture?
ASCSU’s current election system’s very structure lends itself to corruption. Why earn votes, get out to the students, and come up with truly engaging issues when you can just buy a student’s allegiance and vote with giveaways?
After two years of running for ASCSU elected office myself, I had begun to think that, barring a transfusion of new blood and ideas into ASCSU, no one would ever look at fixing the problem.
Just as I had abandoned hope, it seems that from within ASCSU there is emerging the faint glimmer of new, intelligent thought. The ASCSU internal affairs committee has chosen to tackle the three most onerous problems with ASCSU elections-money, alcohol and objectivity.
As many of our parents have probably told us, money does not grow on trees. That being the case for most college students, money is almost always in short supply.
In prior years, this mere fact was enough to prohibit some of CSU’s best leaders from running for office, as the typical spending for a competitive campaign has approached, and in some cases exceeded, $5,000.
For those like myself who sought outside funding, it wouldn’t have mattered if Jerry McMorris were a personal friend, as donations from business and individuals were capped. This was not the case for personal spending, however, making an elections race much easier for someone whose mommy and daddy didn’t mind ponying up.
ASCSU is now considering an overall cap on campaign spending. Implementing such a cap would do us all a favor by making candidates’ primary concern their qualifications, not their pocketbooks.
Removing financial considerations from running isn’t the only thing it seems ASCSU’s internal affairs committee has set their sites on. According to Internal Affairs Committee Chairwoman Britt Farnsworth, her committee is also seeking to eliminate some of the more inane rules regarding alcohol.
In past years, campaigns were to have absolutely no involvement with alcohol. Last year, that policy was taken so far as to prohibit candidates who were of age from discussing campaigning with their friends over a beer.
Such restrictions regarding alcohol seem ridiculous when you consider that, according to Farnsworth, 58% of the student body is of age. It seems pretty common sensical to me that when only about 20% of the student body votes, reaching out to bars and other common student gathering places would be logical in order to improve voter interaction.
By no means should the rules allow for exchanging alcohol for votes, but the only regulation should revolve around making sure all candidates have equal access to forums to campaign in, not restricting where a student can have a drink, and what he or she can talk about while enjoying it.
It seems the internal affairs committee has it right. Less regulation means more ease of participation. Isn’t that the goal?
ASCSU needs to clearly define its rules, make them objective and get rid of the ones that just muck up the process.
ASCSU, you’re here to serve the students, we’re not here to serve you-keep that in mind.
Scott Wilkinson is a senior majoring in civil engineering.