Editor’s note: This editorial solely critiques Tempe’s Undergraduate Student Government. Arguments within it do not apply to USG Downtown, West or Polytechnic or to the Graduate and Professional Student Association.
ASU’s Undergraduate Student Government falls down time and time again, leaving students without true representation from our president, Jordan Davis, or from our senators.
Two recent problems overwhelmed the senate and president’s office. USG should have appointed an election commissioner to make sure elections ran smoothly this spring. Senate Bill 49 would have protected the election commission from being unbiased. Without these “checks and balances,” we’re basically paying a $25 fee here and there to fund a bumbling organization.
Also proposed (and failed to pass) last week was Senate Bill 50, which would have suspended elections until a Supreme Court Justice was appointed. Without a judge, election problems cannot be mediated.
Jordan Davis doesn’t seem to see a problem with potential election disasters. That’s pretty disturbing, considering our very democracy is preserved by clean, fair and free elections.
We wanted to believe endorsements Davis received from former USG president Mark Naufel and student members of the Arizona Board of Regents.
We wanted him to follow through with promises ranging from fighting fee increases to opening up USG to sunlight and transparency.
There seems to be an extreme apathy on the part of the senate and our president, as though they just want to sit around in their chambers until the end of the semester when they can collect their stipend.
Apathy on this level was not always the case in our representatives. In 2011, USG gathered to fight against budget cuts totaling $80 million from ASU’s funding. This is the type of advocacy we need in our representatives.
Also in 2011, USG organized an effort to keep guns off campus. Back then, we could look up to USG for fighting against a Legislature that wanted to slash budgets and crush our rights as students.
Now, with a USG in disarray and fighting over its own bylaws, there’s no one to fight for what students want out of their experience when they’re here at ASU.
While political infighting rages in Tempe, NAU and UA accomplish what students want. UA is leading an effort to support Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, to make stabilized four year tuition a state law. NAU already offers a program to stabilize tuition.
While there are problems with other school’s representatives, they’re much better than our “do-nothing” USG.
USG should be there to support our interests in the state and right here on campus. It should be easy to stay on top of the details because the senators, collectively, receive $28,000 in student money to do just that. Not only do we pay them, but we expect them to represent us, no matter how “apathetic” USG claims that we are.
Unfortunately, USG seems to take a leaf out of our federal government’s book: If there’s a problem, just ignore it. The people you’re in charge of representing are just the little people unworthy of respect.
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