Low turnout for SGA debate frustrating for all

March 9, 2015

Scribe Staff
[email protected]

Democracy is all about participation. But how do you expect student voters to participate when well over half of your candidates don’t show up for your marquee debate?

On March 4, SGA hosted a debate for their candidates. Of the 26 candidates profiled in the March 2 issue of The Scribe, 14 showed up for the debate. That’s just better than 50 percent.

Four of the eight Senator-at-Large candidates were there. Of the seven uncontested senator races, only two (Multicultural Affairs and Public Affairs) attended. Neither Director of Finance candidates, the folks who will be mainly in charge of overseeing our student activity fee money, were there.

The overachievers were the Senator of College of Business candidates who both showed; two of three Senator of LAS candidates attended; both pairs of Presidential/Vice-Presidential candidates were there.

True, the debate took place from around 12:30-2 p.m. on a Tuesday. That could explain the absence of a few candidates due to class. But almost half of 26? Wouldn’t the first thing you did, if you were going to host a candidate debate to showcase them to interested student voters, make sure they could attend?

But what is even scarier was the student turnout, or lack thereof.

A fair amount of folks, say 20-30, were there during the senatorial debate. But when a break came before the Presidential/Vice-Presidential debate, and all the free pizza had filled their bellies, that number dropped to around 10.

The elected SGA folks control, according to their website, a $290,000 budget generated by the student activity fee. This university has over 11,000 students, and these are the kind of numbers an SGA debate draws.

Part of the role of The Scribe is to keep an eye on SGA and how they spend that large chunk of change they are responsible for.

But we also want to see the success of that body, because they, just like The Scribe, play a key role at UCCS. Their success means an increased exchange of ideas and goals, something UCCS can always use.

The nature of a journalistic-governmental relationship is tedious and antagonistic at times, but it is a necessary one in our democracy.

But who do we keep an eye on if no one shows up?