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Number of student body presidential candidates shows lack of involvement

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 00:02

 

With the student body presidential election only two weeks away, the dearth of presidential candidates is troubling. 

Though the two candidates announced yesterday have been previously involved with Student Government (SG) and may be ideal choices, the lack of involvement from the general student population is worrisome. The student body president represents more than 40,000 students, but how can all voices be heard if only two, as open to representing the student body as they may be, are willing to step forward? 

The student body president plays an important role in the overall functioning of a university, particularly at USF. The president oversees SG operations, which involves the allocation of more than $14 million in Activities and Services fees that every student pays into, and is a voting member of the university Board of Trustees, which sets much of the university’s agenda in terms of priorities and planning. 

Regardless of which candidate wins the election, the early stages of the campaign should be a forum to hash out the best ideas from which better ideas can emerge. 

Having only two plans for USF’s future undermines how important it is that the students pick a representative according to their ideals and plans.  

The low number of candidates is disappointing because it hinders the democratic process of the university’s governing system when there are a limited amount of platforms for students to choose from.

Many complain of the position of student body president not being reflective of their needs, or being representative of subpopulations of campus, such as Greek Village. But unless more individuals are willing to run and serve as student body president, complaints become invalid. 

Unlike the qualifications needed to run for president of the U.S., the qualifications to run for student body president don’t require one to have a high level of pedigree or independent wealth. Anyone can run for the position, yet only two, who had previous involvement with SG, chose to run. 

Apathy in the election process can diminish the importance of the student population’s involvement in the governing process, which could lead to dangerous consequences for future students.

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