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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Steal This Column

For a little more than 10 months out of the year, the UC Davis student body views ASUCD as practically invisible.

Granted, when a student needs a way to get to campus they’ll hitch a ride with Unitrans, or if they’re desperate for a bite to eat they may stop in at the Coho. However, even the most loyal patrons to these units will tell you that when it comes down to the daily grind of student government, they simply don’t give a damn.

In my opinion, this is the optimal state of being for ASUCD; a sort of homeostasis based solely on apathy. It grants elected officials the freedom to conduct their shenanigans and squabbling without having to worry about the threat of being taken seriously, while at the same time allowing students to go about their business unaffected by such antics. Not to mention it presents potential candidates with the shining opportunity to champion the cliché cause ofclosing the gapbetween the Association and apathetic students.

Unfortunately, every so often this Zen-like peace is disrupted by rumblings that find their way down from the MU’s third floor, ASUCD’s designated playpen, and enter into the daily lives of students. Suddenly, you can’t walk across the quad without being harassed by parasitic canvassers who somehow feel marginalized by the Association. In an instant, the general attitude toward student government goes fromno one cares, toeveryone should care.

In the four years I’ve spent observing the circus of an institution that is ASUCD, I’ve learned to attribute such a rapid shift in perception to something I like to call ASUCD’s,Piñata Appeal.

Everyone knows that the only thing a piñata is good for is being on the business end of a severe beating, and at certain points in the year, present time included, it appears that the same thing can be said about ASUCD.

Before you begin arming yourselves with assortment of blunt objects and start heading up to the third floor, allow me to explain myself.

The only time students care about ASUCD is when it’s surrounded by controversy. Last year, the spring budget hearings perked some normally indifferent ears and this year the same can be said about this bogus election complaint.

The minute things start getting nasty students are quick to condemn any and all aspects of student government. Members of the community who are normally uninformed about the workings of the Association suddenly lash out and take a few swings at the establishment. To their surprise, they’re showered in the praise of their peers for bringing attention to such grave injustices and spend the next couple days high on their own sense of importance.

Trust me, I’ve been able to sustain a rather healthy ego just by poking fun at the Association every chance they give me.

If you still don’t recognize the presence of these bandwagon beatings, simply follow the newspaper this week. I guarantee that the amount of coverage and criticism regarding the Association will dwarf previous weeks, and might even include a few more conspiracy theories about L.E.A.D. joining forces with the Illuminati to keep TGIF from passing.

What’s really interesting about this peculiar trend in behavior is how the campus’s fair-weather crusaders for justice only criticizing the Association for as long as it keeps spewing back candy. In a matter or weeks, or possibly even days, the novelty of wailing on ASUCD will fade away and students and newspaper writers alike will go back to simply not caring about the frequently absurd behavior typical of our student leaders.

The thing that people need to understand is that there’s enough material out there to keep this piñata party going year round. Granted, ASUCD isn’t the most significant or interesting thing to follow, but every now and then it presents the student body with a real gem that can keep us swinging for at least a little bit longer than is necessary.


Please don’t interpret JAMES NOONAN’s use of the wordpiñataas somehow racially offensive. Normally he wouldn’t be worried, but after last week’s senate fiasco, who knows … Any interpretations not including bigotry can be sent to jjnoonan@ucdavis.edu.


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