In response to LSA Student Government President Leslie Zaikis’ decision that party affiliations were no longer going to be part of LSA Student Government elections (LSA Student Government to drop party labels from ballot, 2/11/2009), the actions of LSA-SG’s president and some of the executive officers are in violation of the LSA-SG’s bylaws and of students’ rights, which those bylaws are intended to protect. As a former president of LSA-SG, I would like to set up some facts for those on campus who are interested in running in the LSA-SG election, an opportunity that I would encourage any interested student to explore.
First, it is a violation of the LSA-SG bylaws to not allow students to come together and form parties to run in elections and have their party name appear on the election ballot. While a single-party system is by no means an appropriate way to handle government elections, banning parties all together is rather rash and inappropriate. Students who do not have a widespread popularity base simply cannot win without a party system, regardless of how qualified they may be.
Furthermore, this solution to the one-party system problem will only make problems worse in that only the students who are “well-connected” or “popular” will continue to win student government elections because they will not have the additional finances, time, and energy that comes with being a member of a political party. Due to its other important obligations, LSA-SG is not capable of reaching out to everyone on campus. This is where parties come into play. Parties have the time and energy to seek out new and interested students from a variety of backgrounds to bring more diversity of perspective and thought to LSA’s student government.
I strongly encourage all members of government, and even all LSA students, to become educated on their rights to run in an election and exercise them accordingly.
The letter writer is an LSA Senior and the former president of LSA-SG.