Our View: What’s the point?


CW Editorial Board

It’s election time yet again, and frankly, we are frustrated. We’ve sat through the interviews, heard the pitches and recorded the soon-to-be forgotten campaign promises. But, there is one key component missing in the campaigns of all of this year’s SGA candidates: the healthy competition of a free and fair election. Now, more than ever, it has become abundantly clear that The University of Alabama is far from a democratic campus.

All SGA executive board positions are uncontested. Those students not affiliated with the political powerhouses that are Greek life organizations know that any attempt at breaking into student government is a waste of time, money and resources. With completely uncontested elections, the ideas of the few candidates who are actually running for office are left completely unchecked. There is no debate. There is no exchange of ideas. There is nothing more than a thinly veiled show of political grandstanding, unopposed “proposals” and dangerous ideals. From Jillian Fields’ fiscally risky policies of controlling off-campus student housing rent to Demarcus Joiner’s intangible, constitutionally shaky anti-hate speech campaign, it is abundantly clear that most, if not all, of the candidates running for these elected positions have never had their ideas challenged. 

Not every idea proposed by the candidates was unachievable or ineffective, however. Fields did propose a useful app that could serve as a Rate My Professors-like platform for students to discuss the pros and cons of off-campus housing complexes. Joiner brought with him the ingenious idea of implementing a public initiative tracker to keep SGA members accountable for their promises. While several good ideas like these were proposed, we believe that competition among candidates would have led to even more ideas.

Though a diversity of good and bad ideas were brought to the campaign table, funding for the candidates’ proposals was not a large concern for most of the contenders. Much like many of the politicians in Washington, most of the executive board candidates did not seem to have a complete grasp on the cost of their proposals, much less a plan for implementing them. 

In our interviews with the candidates, tangible answers were hard to come by. We thought too many of the campaigns lacked details and were overly ambitious.

The theme of this “election” seems to be grandiose promises and hope for a better quality of life for students. Without fail, every candidate told us that SGA was “for the students,” which is obviously why such an immense number of students are competing for these positions (this is sarcasm, if you missed that). Rather than providing a candidate field of diverse students from all walks of life, we are faced with the choice of voting for a select few new, shiny models of nearly every SGA member we’ve seen in the past, writing in “ham sandwich” or not voting at all. 

The candidate profiles you see on the next few pages are not of candidates. They are profiles on each of the people who will hold the position they are running for – a true slap in the face of our country’s democratic principles. Rather than casting a vote supporting something so pointless, we at The Crimson White would like to encourage each and every student to write in a vote, unless you just truly believe that the only candidate running is the best person for the job. Let’s try to make Nick Saban SGA president (or perhaps that charming opinions editor, Brett Hodges). Obviously Saban cannot fill this role, but in casting a cohesive vote of protest, we as students can finally make a statement criticizing the apathy that is driving the downfall of our democracy, student government and campus.