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Volume 14 Issue 19
Q: Who dropped the leadership ball?
Did you vote for ASWOU?
Because not a lot of people did. The simple fact of the matter is that most elections on campus can’t seem to raise enough interest in campaign involvement and voting in general.
Only 10 percent of the student body need to vote in the ASWOU election for those results to be valid. That means one in 10 people. At most, that is perhaps three people from your English class. That small fraction is barely being sufficiently covered.
There are over 5,000 students on campus. About 533 votes were needed, and 550 came in. That’s a very slim margin. If 20 people fewer had voted (less than the population of an average floor in the dorms), the organization that runs a substantial chunk of the school would have to hang out with the polls open until two dozen people cared enough to vote.
However, lack of voting is not the only problem. There are not that many people to vote for in the first place. A majority of the positions for ASWOU had no one running for them this election. Six people ran for four positions out of the two dozen available. The candidates for president of the student body and judicial administrator ran completely unopposed.
Counting up the open seats for senate, the judicial board and the Incidental Fee Committee (IFC) members, less than a quarter of ASWOU positions are currently filled for the coming year. The heads of the branches (president, judicial chair and senate president, the latter still unknown) will have to fill all of these positions by themselves.
So perhaps no one votes because there’s no one to vote for.
Enough berating. Why does this matter? Who cares if these positions go unfilled?
Let’s take a look at the title for ASWOU: Associated Students of Western Oregon University. The “associated students” part stands out. That’s us. At least, it should be us. Furthermore, they work for us. They turn pages and poke things with sticks. They consider as many sides of an argument as they can hear and evaluate the outcomes. And all in the interests of the students.
This campus needs students involved in running and especially in voting. Involvement on campus is the only way to make anything happen at Western. A large part of that is putting people in office, people who will take the direction of the students who support them. The positive impact of voting for ASWOU candidates can have ripple effects that will make our community better and stronger in the years to come.