Arizona Daily Wildcat
May 5, 1998

End this farce

We can now call Gilbert Davidson the former ASUA president.

He tells the Arizona Daily Wildcat he's enjoyed working for students. Great. Thanks for all that work.

We know that you've sacrificed for us. After all, getting up every day and knowing that you're head of the ineffectual clique known as ASUA, and that, no matter what, administrators and regents will still consider you the legitimate voice of the students can't be a nice feeling to have. We imagine it's tough to sit on the board of the Arizona Students Association, the group that's meant to give the state's 100,000 college students a voice in state government, knowing full well that a whole 2,297 students thought you and your organization were worth showing up to vote for. It can't be a particularly good feeling to know that students turned out in record numbers to kill your pet project, the Memorial Student Union referendum. Yep, what a year.

And with the reign of status-quo candidate Tara Taylor underway, we're in for more of the same.

Not that it matters. Administrators need to depend on someone to get a gauge of the student body's feelings. Why not? ASUA still calls itself the student government.

Like UA President Peter Likins said at yesterday's ASUA inauguration ceremony:

"The student community seems to be serious about providing leadership."

Right on. We're very serious.

Because all 35-odd thousand of us live in a world of residence halls and fraternity social functions. We drive Jeeps. Our biggest problems are finding parking and balancing all our extracurricular activities against one another. That's part of the reason it's so necessary to toss out $1,000 stipends to ASUA officials: that way the government club can indulge itself just like its adult counterparts.

We've been critical of ASUA in this space before. We will contend that the government has failed to live up to its obligation to represent students. We feel that ASUA's budget begs serious cost-effectiveness questions, from stipends to clubs and program funding. Quite frankly, not enough of its $375,000 budget goes to students. And we could give you a laundry list, from scholarships to child care, of programs ASUA should spend more of our cash on.

But it really doesn't matter. The group is so insulated from the needs of the student body that the constituency is numb to it all. They don't expect anything and they don't care. Besides, you need 10 percent of the student body to sign a petition to get a recall election. Ten percent of the student body is nearly 100 percent of theactual voters.

Facing another year of this kind of leadership, the campus needs a popular push from students, in groups like the African American Student Association and the New Traditional Students, to demand a new form of government.

A form of government that involves real representation and accountability, where students will step up to represent the diverse needs of their peers, where funding will be based not on tradition or politics, but on maximizing the return to students.

A government where students reach out and publicly include their peers in discussions on tuition and student fees.

A government of the students, by the students and for the students.


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