Editorial: Elections today warrant more attention
Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 01:09
Today Jumbos are taking part in the first elections of the academic year. Seven freshmen will be voted into Senate seats, while various class council positions will be decided by class-specific votes. The entire undergraduate campus will be voting on who should occupy the two available seats in the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Judiciary and the three available seats on the Committee on Student Life (CSL).
While everyone has seen the posters, chalking and Facebook profile pictures that herald in the election season, questions remain: Who are these candidates outside of their catchy slogans and carefully selected images? What do we really know about them and their abilities to represent their class or the student body as a whole?
It seems as though there could be more information circulating about these elections, and how students can run for a position and/or participate in the voting process. Since elections occur so early on in the school year, affording elected representatives maximum time in office to effect the most change, the polls seem to close before students even realize they’re open.
The controversy regarding the CSL’s nondiscrimination policy took over campus discussion last academic school year, and the chance to create change from within the CSL stands with the three available seats in today’s elections. The student body has the opportunity to vote in those students that will directly determine the final outcome of this controversial decision and others like it.
The Elections Commission (ECOM) needs to make a greater effort to inform the student body about elections not just so more students will apply, but perhaps more importantly, so more students will vote. ECOM can do more than advertise in the Daily, on Facebook and on lawn signs around campus.
There should be more events where candidates can express their views and meet the peers they hope to represent. After all, freshmen are asked to vote for peers that they have known for less than a month into representative positions for their class. Events should be well advertised and accessible to students who may not have been aware of, or actively following, the election process.
According to the ECOM website, only 49.06 percent of the then-freshman class of 2016 turned out for elections last spring. On the same election date, twenty percent of the student body voted on the referenda. There needs to be a concerted effort to get the student body, particularly this year’s freshman class, more aware of and involved in voting on the student leadership positions that will shape their college experience for the next four years.