North Texas Daily

Presidential candidates should not be unopposed

Presidential candidates should not be unopposed

Presidential candidates should not be unopposed
April 06
23:58 2015

The Editorial Board

Last week, our news editor covered a Student Government Association meeting and the following presidential debate. But what she covered was disappointing: there wasn’t a debate. In fact, only one president-vice president pair showed up. The other didn’t bother to show up, turning what was supposed to be a debate between two candidates into a small, unimportant question and answer session. Even the Q&A was anemic, as only a handful of questions were asked by the few, left over SGA officials from the meeting.

And so next year, political science junior Adam Alattry, and photography junior Christopher Lee will be the president and vice president of the student body. Who are they? Well, we know about Alattry, the current SGA director of marketing, NT 40 member and Greek Programming Board member. But it appears none of that really matters this go ‘round, which is why the North Texas Daily seeks to sit down with Alattry to understand where he and Lee stand on student issues. We’ll be reaching out to him after the election.

Did you know the SGA elections are April 6 to 9? Do you know how to vote for the candidates? Do you even care? The latter question is where we arrive at our problem.

Students on American campuses have been active voices on political issues for a while now, protesting real world issues like racism and the draft. Let us never forget Andy Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, three major players during Freedom Summer of 1964. They were brutally murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi by hateful Klansmen and servants of the local law enforcement.

Out of that terrible moment came an energized student movement, beginning at the University of California – Berkeley, when students demanded treatment as adults with equal voice. The following months, students protested, and the solidification of the American student was established. A student governing body became even more necessary over the years, allowing students an organized voice on campus and in the communities surrounding campus.

And here we are today, with very few students on campus involved in SGA affairs. This is apparent when presidential candidates don’t even show up for debate. Monday afternoon, one of the editors walked through Library Mall, past two SGA senatorial candidates yelping for votes with decorative signs and charismatic connection. A couple walking behind him had just learned — via walking by the campaigners — that SGA elections were this week, one of them asking, “Where do you even vote?”

Though it’s one example of voter obtuseness, it’s the perfect example and the point of emphasis of this editorial. Students need and deserve to know what’s going on with SGA, whether the issues of topic are widespread or narrow. We advise SGA to better reach students on campus. We understand student apathy is abundant in college, and even more so at UNT, with its individualistic population. But the audiences at the university change every semester, so student organizations have to rethink their marketing approach to the student population each semester. Even the NT Daily is reconsidering its outreach and strategy.

As for SGA, there need not ever be debates like last week’s. Such instances are a disgrace to the very idea of student organization. It’s a poor continuation of the efforts of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. Even if students are nonresponsive to outreach, the decision of leadership should be taken seriously and not cast to the side as an afterthought, the blame here attached to SGA, not Alattry or Lee.

Student needs are far-reaching and of varying substance. Student leadership must be vetted properly, even if the candidates are unopposed. Alattry and Lee need to be questioned more than what SGA gave last week, else they don’t deserve to be our university’s top students.

If you do care to vote, go to http://studentaffairs.unt.edu/org/sga.

Featured Image courtesy of SGA.

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