Something I’ve noticed since last Tuesday is that everywhere I go on campus, there’s someone talking about the recent election. The fact that a presidential election is still generating this much buzz and conversation a week after it’s over says something important about how involved our generation was in this election.
While it’s nice for students to bask in the glow of electing the first African American president, it’s also important to remember that, very shortly, they need to vote in another election.
The fall 2008 ASUCD elections begin Wednesday and end on Friday at 8 a.m. This election will decide half the ASUCD Senate seats for the coming year, and you need to vote in this election because it directly concerns you.
In the past, ASUCD elections have suffered from pathetically low voter turnout. We’re talking several elections wherein only 10 to 12 percent of the student body vote for these senators. Considering the size of the student body (23,168 as of fall 2007), that’s a ridiculously low number. Senators are democratically elected by the student body so that the senate can accurately represent the makeup, attitudes and interests of the students.
Do you think the opinions and values of 2,300 people can realistically represent the opinions and values of over 20,000 other students? I certainly don’t.
Maybe you’re not exactly sure what ASUCD does or why you should care which senators represent you. Let’s take a look and see.
The association oversees a great many of the student services commonly used on campus. Some of the more prominent ones include Unitrans, the Coffee House, Campus Copies, Classical Notes and the Bike Barn. In order to fund the plethora of units, ASUCD oversees an annual operating budget of over $10 million. The senate has a great deal of sway over how those funds are spent.
Past actions the senate is responsible for include a student fee referendum that, while slightly raising student fees, allowed for the continued function of Unitrans and consequently kept in place the primary transportation to and from campus for thousands of students.
In addition to having a say over which senator you want taking care of your $10 million, your vote allows you to voice what parts of campus are important to you and how you want senators who represent you to be spending their time.
The senate recently passed resolutions against Propositions 4 and 8. Do you feel that the senate’s opinion, which ostensibly represents that of the campus, is in line with your own? Maybe you don’t feel that the senate should spend its time talking about such issues. Maybe you do. However you feel about the issue, you lose the right to complain about it if you don’t vote in the senate elections.
If you don’t know where or how to find out about the senate candidates, it’s not like they’re trying to hide from you. There are flyers all over campus about the candidates, in addition to articles in this very publication. The elections committee, responsible for running these elections, has shown renewed vigor in publicizing the elections this year. Part of these efforts include more rigorous and informative debates, of which there are several each year during both fall and winter quarters.
Several of this quarter’s candidates have different ideas on, for instance, student entertainment. Would you rather have a Centennial Concert for philanthropic purposes or regular movies on the Quad? Or both?
Maybe you’re a transfer student. Some senate candidates are pledging to work on behalf of transfer students to make their transition to this campus easier, but how will you support them if you don’t know who they are?
Assuming you’re unable to make it to any of the debates or read any of the articles in The California Aggie, you can still hear what the candidates have to say. You can read their candidate statements at elections.ucdavis.edu/candidates.
Voting is incredibly easy; you can do it online at elections.ucdavis.edu! You don’t have to leave the comfort of your dorm or apartment (assuming you didn’t go to class). This means that voting is not only a responsibility on your part as a student, but that not participating is really inexcusable.
RICHARD PROCTER for one, can’t wait to vote. Tell him who you voted for and why at email@example.com.