If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? If a Student Association election happens and nobody notices, did it really happen? Yes, and that’s just what most of us on campus are hoping for this year.
It is nothing new for students to go about their daily business without even a thought about their elected student government, even during the height of campaign season. Students are busy on our bustling campus, and we certainly don’t have much direct proof that the SA does anything to affect our lives. So why should we bother to listen for more than a few seconds when a candidate stops us on the way to class waiving campaign fliers, going on about the issues we supposedly care about? The past has taught us that we probably won’t.
It is with this understanding that I ask the candidates of this year’s election – namely presidential hopefuls Josh Singer, Phillip Robinson and Dani Greenspan – to break from tradition and lead a subdued campaign reflecting how much people truly care about the SA. Most of us are aware of the antics of the past: last year’s election followed the Gore-Bush battle with lawsuits and high court reversals, while previous years at GW entertained high scandal with poster wars and stuffed ballots.
Six straight Hatchet front pages were dominated with election mayhem during last year’s Kapoor-Simon presidential battle, and I assure you there were other things students would rather have been reading about. We are all quite amused by the annual SA circus but have better things to do with our time than keep up with it.
The SA is good at accomplishing what it can: SA President Roger Kapoor has reached out to students to hear their concerns and brought them to GW’s administration to see which ones can be addressed. The SA Senate has passed a few resolutions on important topics and learned about policy in the process. And student groups got their money. But campaigners would be kidding themselves if they thought they could do more.
If this year’s candidates need more convincing to tone down the politics of past years, I suggest they recognize the markedly low level of interest in this year’s election. Low in the number of people interested in running for office (more people are running for the Marvin Center Governing Board than the top spots in the SA), and low in the excitement building to hear what you have to say.
So with nine days until the voting starts, I ask candidates to continue with the subdued tone the elections have at their outset. Get your message out with minimal antics, and let students get on with their lives. The Hatchet will follow its responsibility to cover the issues you think are important, but the side-show politicking will be left for other campus publications that want to waste their time.
-The writer, a senior majoring in journalism, is Hatchet editor in chief.
This article appeared in the February 19, 2002 issue of the Hatchet.