Editorial: Hope for a better ASUA issue forum next time
In principle, the ASUA Input Forum inviting students before ASUA officials to discuss issues near and dear to them seemed a good idea. In practice last Thursday, it failed. Because events like the input forum are so critical in principle, the lessons afforded by the meeting last week are important for future ASUA officials.
The forum, initiated by ASUA Sen. Ben Graff, was held so ASUA officials could hear the concerns of student groups on campus, discuss those issues and try to work out solutions. Steps like these are critical toward bridging the growing rift between ASUA and the student body in concerns and understandings.
The panel, however, consisted largely of ASUA officials whose terms are nearly up and who won't be running again.
This is more the shame, as if the forum was held earlier this year, the Senate may have been coordinating petitioning efforts with students for increased childcare subsidies and a possible childcare center in early fall rather than levying resolutions against cartoons, thereby earning the vocal derision of many students on campus.
At very least, the officials would have been more attuned with the pulse of student needs on this campus, which deviate widely those of the group housed in offices above the bookstore.
Still, last Thursday proved if nothing else, student needs and concerns will bring them to ASUA if given the opportunity, a sign that should be heartening to officials. Not all trust is lost, some students still hold hope, as they should, that if they work and want it hard enough, their officials may yet be able to represent them in their needs.
Many student groups showed up at the forum, some with many members having prepared reports and research on the issues important to them. Many of these students even forked over five bucks at the last minute to park in the parking garage because this event
coincided with a UA basketball game.
Unfortunately, most of the approximately 100 students who showed up never got to discuss what they came to talk about. The evening consisted of discussing one of the five issues that were chosen by the leadership to be discussed, which was advising.
One student left at the beginning of the session in very vocal protest, realizing that the issues she had submitted on a card a few weeks ago to the forum were not going to be discussed.
The forum, which had potential for finally opening a dialogue between officials and students, concluded with dissatisfaction high among many students, several of whom left their jobs early to attend with high hopes.
This should not be taken as discouragement for future such events, but simply as a primer. Candidates campaigning now would do well to assay students' sentiments early and more thoroughly in their term for clearly students care - even if they care enough to be disappointed and hope for a better chance next time.