USF has had a sad history concerning its voter turnout rates in past Student Government elections. The importance of our voting privileges cannot be ignored. The student body president of this university holds a position that affects us all, and by not voting, we are relinquishing our claim to determine many important aspects of our education. As responsible adults who pay back student loans and study long hours, we owe it to ourselves to choose the person that we think will help make our lives as easy as possible during the next year.
In the 2001 SG elections, 1,963 votes were cast, a five percent voter turnout rate. Considering that the Tampa campus has a population of more than 36,000 students, those numbers are pathetic. In the 1999 elections, the votes totaled an amazing 971, and in 2000, all were astonished when voter turnout exceeded the 1,000 mark. All sarcasm aside, why let an opportunity like this pass you by? Polls have been open online since 9 a.m. Wednesday. There’s no room for excuses based on convenience.
The student body president of the university is the only student given a seat on the Board of Trustees. This position allows him not only to have a say in university issues, but also exposes him to statewide university politics. For instance, the SG president has played an important role in the past year with decisions concerning Sami Al-Arian. Next year’s SG president will be the best chance we have of getting summer requirements eliminated, among other things students care about. By not voting in these elections, we are leaving decisions up to people that we might not want representing us.
Taking the attitude that these elections don’t affect us is basically leaving all of us no room to complain. If you have ever disagreed with a policy that came from SG, then you should be voting. There’s no excuse.