If anyone is looking for something to do Wednesday afternoon, I suggest that you take a trip to the fourth floor of the Student Union Memorial Center and attend the ASUA senate meeting, which kicks off at 4:45 p.m. Watching the brawl over the current issue was like watching full contact basketball, with a shove and an elbow here and a knee to the groin there. If the last meeting is any indication of how this week's meeting is going to go, it will be more entertaining than most of our football games this year.
It doesn't sound like a hot ticket, but when the senate discussion on the new election code cooled after about an hour of extremely heated debate, it made sure that this upcoming meeting was going be just as interesting.
Of course, this kind of fight over election codes shouldn't be a surprise. Every year when the elections commissioner approaches the senate saying, "OK, so I've only made a few small changes this year · ," inevitably a few senators have very big objections to those seemingly-small tweaks to the code and, what seems like 10 hours later, the code is passed with much reservation.
Last year, the issue dealt with banners and what were considered "official polling sites." Debate raged on after several senators, including ÷ I have to admit ÷ myself, objected to particular changes or wanted to make other cosmetic changes to make the language of the code more clear.
This year is no different, with senators throwing arguments back at each other like pieces in a game of verbal chess. The hot topic this year is how many signatures are required for a student to be an official candidate for one of the 13 elected positions in ASUA.
Right now, in order to run for presidential, vice presidential and senate positions, students have to obtain petitions with 500, 400 and 300 signatures, respectively. Elections Commissioner Daniel Suh wants to make a "small change" by lowering those requirements in order to attract more students to run in the elections. Suh says that simply getting candidates for each position is a battle that the elections commissioner is constantly fighting.
After the idea was presented to the senate, it became clear that the issue was split right down the middle. While one-half of the senate agreed with Suh, the other half said that requiring more signatures would attract more qualified and more enthusiastic candidates.
Despite the confused, heated debate on the subject, the senate did appear to be going in the right direction before it tabled the issue until after the holiday
break. Of course, nothing is official yet, but several amendments squeaked by, raising the number of required signatures for the presidential and both vice presidential positions, despite a lot of opposition.
This is the right move, one the senate will hopefully make on Wednesday, barring something horrible like a last second slam dunk (curse you, Florida!). There is nothing wrong with, and a lot right with, wanting experienced, enthusiastic candidates who are willing to take the time to get a petition filled out.
It's a great thing to attract more people to the elections, but the position of president is certainly not the place to do it.
If the number of signatures on the petition gets in the way of a student running for ASUA president, he or she doesn't deserve to be the president, period ÷ not to mention that it might actually be a good thing for potential ASUA presidents or vice presidents to walk around campus getting to know 100 or even 1,000 more students before they start their campaigns.
Even the candidates for senate, whose requirements are significantly less to begin with, should be exposed to a higher standard.
If we expect more from those potential candidates, then they will give more back.
Where is it said that running for office should be easy?
It should be hard. That's the whole point of a campaign ÷ proving to the student body that someone is the right person for the job and deserves to be elected.
We'll see how this year's round of the election code battle goes; let's hope the right side prevails.
Jason Poreda is a political science and communication senior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org