Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 23, 1998

Government behavior matters

In case you were wondering, all students are members of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.

If you had been at the Associated Students executive branch meet-the-candidates forum Thursday, you might not have known. And you might not have wanted to be associated with the student government.

Instead of a government working to represent the needs and views of the students, we saw a club hell-bent on defending its own.

ASUA Sen. Summer Katzenbach and Escort Service Director Brian Melvin attacked administrative vice presidential candidates Jason Hand and Michael Benveniste and presidential candidate Joseph Sitt, accusing them of not knowing enough about the jobs they were running for or the issues they were running on.

Katzenbach and Melvin contributed anew to ASUA's image as an out-of-touch clique. An out-of-touch clique with $375,000 of our money.

When you look at Katzenbach and Melvin's behavior, it's no wonder less than 10 percent of students vote in ASUA elections. Our government appears obsessed with keeping new voices and faces out of the process.

Making sure the Escort Service, for example, is efficient and helpful is important, but Melvin's questions at the forum did not do anything to contribute to a conversation on the issue.

As much as anyone at the university, we feel it is important to have a student leadership that is informed about campus issues. Thursday night's forum stopped being about issues.

Katzenbach was not elected to debate interpretations about job descriptions and Melvin was not appointed to demand homage from candidates. They were out of bounds and threw the integrity of the entire elections process into question.

If Katzenbach and Melvin respect the political process, they'll consider resigning. If there was any interest in fair presentation of the issues and personalities involved in the campaign, Elections Commissioner Marcos Hernandez and his assistant Robert Sandoval would have prevented the attack.

If there is any justice, all three candidates will be allowed to move on to the final election.

ASUA needs to take a stand in favor of real conversation and action on the issues at hand: retention and graduation rates, campus safety, binge drinking, the pending Nike contract and diversity and campus outreach, to name a few. The candidates need to make specific statements about how they are going to attack these issues.

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