Elections without substance

Election season is upon us, and we’re not talking about the presidential primaries. We’re talking student government.

Wait. You didn’t realize that the IU Student Association elections are here?

If so, you are not alone, because for some reason the powers that be decided to move the elections up to the last day of February and first day of March from the previous time of late March, early April. To be honest, I’m not sure if this is a good or bad development.

What I can say is the IUSA elections this year sound an awful lot like a bunch of credit card commercials; not that the four tickets have been campaigning, but three of the four have named themselves in suggestive fashions.

Take “Platinum,” for example; that name alone sounds like three-quarters of the commercials I see on television for credit cards. “Blue” also sounds like a credit card — specifically the American Express Blue Credit Card; and between the two, that will leave you “POOR,” the third ticket running for IUSA.

I would have incorporated the fourth ticket in there, but their name, “CREW” doesn’t really sound like a credit card; but it does remind me that IU started a women’s crew team last fall out on Lake Lemon.

Of course, as is tradition with student governments across the country, whether at the high school or collegiate level, the candidates are running on unimportant issues, non-issues or issues where they have no chance of making any difference whatsoever.

Blue, for example, wants a “damp” campus; something that the rains last week were able to achieve in a short period of time. Of course, what they really want is a liberalized alcohol policy — something I am sympathetic toward. Unfortunately, it’s not an issue that IUSA can really tackle, making it a non-issue. What we really need is an effort on Capitol Hill to reverse the ill-effects of MADD and other organizations that fought to raise the drinking age to 21 and thought that by preventing access to adults under 21, you could solve the world’s multiple problems.

The folks running under the POOR banner want to reduce the cost of an IU education, and they appear to be focused on this goal with a single-mindedness that would make a baby trying to nurse look like an amateur. I do have to give them credit; they have recognized that IUSA doesn’t directly control tuition costs, which means they are running on an issue where they have little chance of making a difference whatsoever.

Platinum’s goal is “to inform students and to also get feedback from the student body, as a whole.” At least they have something in common with CREW, whose pointless platform is that they are running as a team and that IU needs more leadership. In short, these two tickets don’t really appear to have any substantive goals like Blue or POOR, which means they are running on truly unimportant issues.

I believe that student governments shouldn’t waste their time on issues on which they will only have limited effects.

Our student government should, instead, focus on quality of life issues on campus: more garbage cans to prevent littering, urging the people who maintain the lawns to avoid watering before or during the lunch hour, making sure that receptionists across campus are polite to students when answering the phone or greeting them at their desks or ensuring that students waiting to register for classes aren’t bored out of their gourds while waiting in line in Franklin Hall.

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