Recognizing increasing student
discontentment and apathy regarding LSA Student Government, the
assembly voted to authorize a constitutional change that would
dramatically alter the way the LSA-SG president and vice president
are elected. However, before this change is implemented, the LSA
student body needs to approve the proposal during this week’s
elections.

This constitutional change signals a new frontier for LSA-SG,
and is, in many ways, a response to the ineffective and clumsy
leadership that characterized the body two years ago. Under the
current system, parties run candidates, who are elected to
executive positions by the entire LSA student body. If the
amendment were to pass, LSA-SG representatives would elect
executives; sitting representatives, including those who are
elected during the campus-wide election, would be eligible to vote
for the president and vice president.

The main goal of this necessary reform is to ensure that
executives are elected based on competence, not charisma. Under the
party system, candidates are selected based on factors such as
likability, not fitness for office. With an election system in
which everyone is allowed to vote but few of the voters have any
knowledge of the issues and candidates facing LSA, it is difficult
for students to vote for candidates based on details such as
experience, leadership philosophy and dedication.

With less than 40 people voting for the new president and vice
president, there is much more time for scrutiny and detailed
questioning. Additionally, because the electors would be well
versed in the intricacies of LSA-SG, they would have the experience
and the incentive to find truly qualified candidates.

The major problem that many people find with this proposal is
that, if passed, it would dramatically reduce the impact LSA
students have on electing their student government executives. For
many, this is an affront to democracy, as it moves government out
of the direct hands of the voters. These fears are unfounded. This
proposal would not remove the voice of students, most
representatives will still be directly elected by to the student
body. Additionally, the election of executives would not be
undemocratic; rather, it would be more parliamentarian. Democracy
would still persist, albeit in a different form. In addition,
turnout is so poor in LSA-SG elections that it is difficult to
claim that this proposal would take away a right the student body
passionately cherishes.

It is also likely that the new executives would better represent
the views of LSA students if the ballot proposal passes. This year,
for example, only one party, Students First, is running candidates
for LSA-SG president and VP, because of the party’s
dominance. The new system would at least give a wider range of
students the ability to be considered for the top two
positions.

Student government has the ability to deliver on multiple issues
of importance to students. In order for LSA-SG to realize this
potential, the Daily encourages students to VOTE YES, and
authorize this change to the LSA-SG constitution. The benefits of
this new electoral procedure vastly outweigh the danger of
“losing democracy.”

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