Mar. 28, 2016
Over 2,000 students voted in the SGA elections the week of March 14-18.
This will be hailed by student activities and SGA as a student involvement triumph. It is nothing of the sort.
Yes, a record number of students voted in this year’s election, with 2,160 students electing their next SGA representatives and deciding the fate of two fee initiatives.
But that success is built on a bubble that does not tell the whole story.
Every student who voted was rewarded (dare we say bribed?) with free stuff, including t-shirts, stickers and candy, which added up to almost $8,000 worth of material. Another $6,000 was spent on election-related events such as the pie giveaway on Monday and the luau.
In total, $14,466.28 of student fee money was allocated for the election. A separate additional bill was passed for around $1,000 of pie.
The issue is, we don’t blame SGA. This is what they (and other organizations) have to do to get students involved in anything on campus – free stuff.
But don’t mask the truth when those involved in student enrichment tell us that this is no longer a commuter school, that student involvement on this campus is skyrocketing. It’s not.
Of those 2,160 students, a lot of them felt pretty ambivalent about the candidates. The following is the percent of students who abstained in the vote for these respective positions and initiatives.
• President/Vice President – 13 percent
• Director of Finance – 27 percent
• Senator of Public Affairs – 25 percent
• Senator of Sustainability – 23 percent
• Senator of Multicultural Affairs – 26 percent
• Senator-at-Large – 26 percent
• Senator of Engineering – 30 percent
• Senator of Business – 28 percent
• Senator of Graduate School – 33 percent
• Senator of Letters, Arts, and Sciences – 32 percent
• Senator of Nursing – 27 percent
• University Center – 19 percent
• Athletics – 17 percent
The Student Choice Award for Educator of the Year was given to Sabine Allenspach, an instructor in the biology department, who garnered seven percent of the vote. 13 percent of students abstained.
No student chose to run for senator of education.
Also – enrollment at this university has gone up consistently, so it stands to reason that participation numbers would go up as well.
It seems like UCCS had a lot of students who voted, but didn’t care about who they voted for. Perhaps this is what you get when your participation is built on the unsustainable bubble of giveaways.
So yes, we had the highest turnout in SGA election history. But when you hear it explained that student involvement continues to grow, specifically in elections, be a bit skeptical.