Disconnect between student body, student government greater than ever
If Rome did indeed fall in a day, maybe it’s not so unfathomable that ASUCD has seemingly collapsed in the span of two quarters.
In the ongoing ASUCD Winter Quarter elections, which began Tuesday and run till Friday morning, every single candidate will be elected. There are six senate candidates running for six spots and just one executive team vying for the Executive Office.
It is unclear how this lack of interest and dearth of candidates materialized. UC Davis is a school of action, socially and politically, where students and student leaders often call for change and more representation. Somehow, ASUCD has failed to seize the attention of those who lead different student communities and who desire to effect change on campus.
This election is not the first example of the disconnect between student government and the student body. Even in the fall 2014 election, only seven candidates ran for the six open spots.
Lack of student involvement in ASUCD is detrimental to the student body as a whole. There are fewer barriers to entry, allowing candidates who may not potentially be qualified to serve as student officials. Additionally, the dearth of candidates has led to a supermajority within ASUCD, as the S.M.A.R.T. slate will soon control eight of 12 senate seats. This essentially would allow for the slate to pass any legislation through without any significant roadblocks.
The senate has final control over the ASUCD budget, as it funds bills and allocates money to ASUCD’s various programs and units. UC Davis students should be able to choose the best possible candidates to make decisions with this money, and no group should be able to unilaterally impose its will on the student body. Student government needs open dialogue and discourse to most effectively represent the needs of different constituencies and communities.
While The Editorial Board does not have a singular answer to the cause of the issue, we worry about the ramifications of the current election. ASUCD should increase outreach in order to encourage students to run for student government. There obviously exist many different opinions on major campus issues, and we believe that there should subsequently be more students looking to join ASUCD in order to better represent the needs of the student body and to make a positive difference on the lives of UC Davis students.
The entire campus community would best be served if the discourse found outside the senate table – during student activist protests and demonstrations – thrived within the realm of ASUCD. The Editorial Board hopes that both ASUCD and the student body rise to the occasion between now and the next elections in the fall.
UC Davis students, the future of your university and student government lies in your hands. Seize the opportunity.
Graphic by Jennifer Wu