In short: While this year’s SGA elections lacked the improprieties and controversy of last year’s, it also lacked the enthusiasm.
At Monday night’s SGA presidential debate, only once were the candidates interrupted by cheers.
Last year, Steven Oliver and Kendra Key took turns inciting flare-ups of passion from their respective crowds of supporters during one of the most heated races for SGA president in recent memory. This year’s race, while still managing to cover the sidewalks in chalk as far as the eye can see, was sedate by comparison.
Apathy seems to be the norm again after last year’s record turnout and involvement. Many students don’t know or care about the election, and that does not bode well for next year’s SGA.
The SGA is supposed to represent the interests of students, but it cannot represent students who are too disinterested to participate. Online voting helps students vote more easily, but it does not help them become more interested. Voting is not the only thing to do during an election; an uninformed electorate is just as useless as one that doesn’t vote. Unfortunately, despite the ease of voting, many students on this campus still do not even find the time for that.
This year, there were no boisterous rallies on the plaza or students wandering around handing out cups and koozies. There were only stickers and chalk. The excitement was markedly absent.
The problem is that the excitement should have been there more than ever. This was an election in which both candidates were drastically different and a year in which controversy had rocked the SGA. Both candidates spent much of their campaigns spreading around buzz words like “transparency” and “openness” because they were vying for the votes of a student body that has not seen those concepts in actions for a while. Students should be angry, not ambivalent. They should be making the news, not ignoring it.
If this apathy continues, it can bode ill for the SGA in more ways than just decreased involvement. It gives the SGA a feeling of isolation and reduces the apparent need for transparency. Why open Senate committee meetings to students if none will show up? Why put the budget and other important documents on the website if no students will visit it? Why fund programs for the students if none are participating in them?
Too many students can’t even be bothered to look at a few Facebook groups for candidates and then spend two minutes checking boxes on a ballot on a website they visit regularly anyway. The SGA cannot work for students who won’t even take the time to click a few links.
We’re glad this year’s election went without controversy and claims of impropriety, but students should still pay attention even if the election isn’t a slugfest. Otherwise, students will have no idea who is representing them.
Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White’s editorial board.