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Editorial: Paltry student turnout at forum deplorable

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 20, 2005
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"The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy."

- Baron de Montesquieu

Every spring, Arizona Daily Wildcat e-mail accounts are inundated with student complaints about the rising cost of tuition. Students expound about an administration that is isolated from the student body, one that cares little for student input or engaging in dialogue.

This week afforded students a unique opportunity to literally step up to the bargaining table and argue their case as the UA Presidential Search Committee met with undergraduates and graduates in two separate meetings.

At each meeting, members attentively listened and actively sought criteria for this institution's next leader. In the room were the members charged with picking the person who will make all of the UA's big decisions for the foreseeable future. They were there and the students weren't.

A mere 20 undergraduates showed up to Tuesday's forum. About the same number of graduate and professional students were present at the forum yesterday.

Of those, a great majority were representatives of student government organizations, leaving the random student on the UA Mall, well, on the Mall and absent from the process.

Maybe students had classes. Maybe they all had more important meetings to attend. Yet it seems that the random student on the Mall is more concerned with finding drink specials for the night than the fact that 31.7 percent of his or her tuition goes toward financial aid and not to the classroom.

The primary direction of the institution could be headed for a big change, yet students would rather ponder whether they're going to change their clothes before going out for the night.

Despite the constant bickering, it's obvious students don't care about how much they pay for tuition. Forget worrying about how that money will be apportioned to fit the growing challenges of a state legislature that doesn't see much value in state universities.

Regent Fred Boice, who chairs the search committee, said that if students didn't show up to the forums, they lose the right to complain. The Daily Wildcat couldn't agree more.

After all, those decisions should be left to the alumni, faculty and community. They're older, wiser, and heck, they've been around the UA a lot longer than students. It's really their university, after all. Students just pay the bills and show up to class (sometimes).

Besides, why worry about all these issues? It's Thursday, and that means two-for-one drinks at Gentle Ben's.

Opinions Board
Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Lori Foley, Ryan Johnson, Damion LeeNatali, Aaron Mackey, Mike Morefield and Tim Runestad.

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