It seems as though there is an air of apathy surrounding the campus’s view of the Associated Student Government (ASG). Not unlike what we see in our national government.
In the coming days, candidates will begin submitting their intent forms for office, whether it be for the senate or for student body president. Yet, it is unlikely many students will care or even know.
In the previous student government election only 820 students participated. Less than 10 percent of the Colorado Mesa University population. However, those elected next month will have the power to decide where a portion of your student fees go.
It is the Criterion’s view that the immense power your representatives of ASG hold cannot go unchecked. Candidates for student body president and vice president, within ASG rules, cannot spend more than $1,000.
This is not small pocket change, and currently, ASG does not enforce disclosure of where that money comes from or what it has been spent on. What’s more, they do not have to release that information to you, the student public.
This large number serves as a reminder of how badly some students want to achieve these offices.
We do expect that a vast majority of the money candidates receive for their campaigns will come from their families, friends and those who want to see them succeed. What we should also expect is the money coming from elsewhere. Perhaps from groups whose goals are not what CMU students expect when they tick the box on their ballot.
Ohio State University’s The Lantern recently revealed that some student government candidates’ campaigns were being quietly funded by the nonprofit conservative organization Turning Point USA. Amounts of $3,000-6,000 were being set aside, according to the article, for student campaigns at OSU, an amount that could likely buy every elected seat on ASG.
The Criterion supports everyone’s right to political ideology, but, more importantly, we support the right for students to know who is pulling the strings in their student government. With ASG’s current rules, you, the students, would have no right to know if a presidential candidate was being funded by a group on either side of the spectrum.
With this in mind, the editors of the Criterion wholly support and endorse the amendments to the ASG election rules and regulations which will be voted on this week.
Should these amendments be passed, new financial disclosure rules will be upheld and enforced in time for this coming election. You, the students, would be given the whole truth before you vote next month.
We also ask the senators of ASG to put aside their own thoughts of re-election and consider what is best for the student body. Your character and your goals for CMU should speak louder than your campaign funding.
As students, the Criterion encourages every and all students attend Wednesday’s meeting at 7 p.m., UC 213 and urge them to vote yes on disclosure, yes on open elections and yes to the truth.
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