March 14, 2003page 8 of 26

OUR VIEWS: Consensus Opinion

March 14, 2003

SGA elections

Once again, it is time for Student Government Association elections. While the Elections Committee has surely done an excellent job educating the candidates about the proper way to campaign, some conflict seems to arise in every election. All of the candidates, both for major offices and for representative positions, should do their best to keep the campaigns clean and fair.

This year's elections continue a pattern of low turnout in the races for undergraduate representatives; a trend that is disturbing because of the importance of self-governance among students. Without strong, competitive races with high voter turnout, students cannot feel connected to the decision-making processes of the Undergraduate House. This lack of connection to the House contributes to the low turnout in races for representative positions.

The problem of few applicants for House positions is clearly a complex problem without an easy solution. Beyond the lack of knowledge among most of the student body about what SGA does, general campus apathy, a tough academic environment and a myriad of other activities to pursue make recruitment of representatives difficult. Perhaps the representatives next year could make a concerted effort to reach out to their constituencies both to keep students more connected and to encourage higher candidate yields in next year's elections.

Auxilary Services

This week's announcement that smoking will no longer be allowed in any on-campus housing is a clear demonstration of the Auxiliary Services' use of student opinion in deciding policies on issues that directly effect students. Lately, there have been several good examples of incorporating student opinion into policy, among them the renovation of the post office and recent changes to parking policy.

These legitimate and significant uses of student opinion can easily be contrasted with other decisions that the Tech administration has made recently, most notably the increase in housing fees. Even if price increases are necessary and unavoidable, students should play a proactive role in determining those price increases from the beginning, not just serving as a rubber stamp at the end of the process.

Student input in administrative and sometimes even academic decisions is essential to helping the Institute maintain its focus on its education mission. Without this input, Tech could easily lose sight of what is best for the students.

Consensus editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.
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