Contested freshman elections a hopeful sign
For the first time in several years, Freshman Class Council elections are heavily contested. There are more than 20 students running for only five positions, and every slate is campaigning heavily.
Contested elections are such a rarity at Washington University that when they do come around, it’s refreshing.
Last year’s Student Union Executive elections were uncontested, and while that does not diminish the qualifications of the candidates, it does detract from the important on-campus issues that student government takes care of.
For SU Treasury (the group that is allocating $92,350 to bring Al Gore to campus), most seats are uncontested during each election cycle, ensuring that the same representatives spend our student activities fees every year, even after approving Bristol Palin.
We would like to congratulate the freshman class on its early involvement and we hope that it continues this high level of engagement going forward.
The rest of the student body can learn from the freshmen’s example. Contested elections are good. They get us thinking about important on-campus issues, and they get us legitimately concerned about who represents us to the administration. We could do with more contested elections, and it shouldn’t be up to the freshman class to make sure they actually happen.
Contested elections improve SU’s reputation among the rest of the student body. The more people compete, the more people recognize just how important SU is, and the more people are willing to pay attention, and maybe get involved in student government.
Contested elections improve the overall quality of representation, helping us get representatives who want the job, and who have legitimate campaign promises and goals, rather than the people who discovered that they could easily win an election.
That isn’t to say that all SU representatives are not doing a good job. We just believe that the school would be considerably better off if more students were involved in the election process and we had legitimate competitions over representation.
This is something that falls on the entire student body. We need more people to run, but we also need more people to vote in SU elections.
Increasing an interest in being involved on this campus will take a while, so we don’t necessarily anticipate the status quo changing very soon. To the freshmen: Keep doing what you are doing. If you continue challenging each other for student government positions (and don’t simply give up once you aren’t on Freshman Class Council), by the time you are seniors, the culture will have completely changed.
We need to have a campus that is more involved in student government, and a process of contested elections will help that. Good job, freshmen. Now to the rest of us, let’s try to follow in their footsteps.