Opinion | Staff Editorials

Let's get this party started

The Columbia College Student Council campaign season this year will lack the somewhat dramatic tone it has taken in the recent past. This is mainly due to a lack of competition for almost every major position on the council, including the majority of class council positions and, most importantly and surprisingly, the executive board leading CCSC.

This is good for several reasons: Besides eliminating any possibility of vitriol, it will allow the candidates’ messages and goals to be heard instead of being overshadowed by campaign rhetoric. But it will also mean that we will have none of the usual forums through which we can hear these candidates discuss their goals. A lack of substantive discussion in any campus campaign cycle is going to raise eyebrows in a community such as ours, which thrives off debate. It is quite possible that, through a general apathy on the part of the larger student community, the 2013-2014 CCSC leadership will go into its term unexamined and without any real mandates for effecting positive change at Columbia.

That said, there is an equally valid, and optimistic, interpretation of a race that draws only one party ticket. The lack of competition may simply be a result of the fact that so many people on CCSC want to continue serving and that the rest of the student body is content to let them do so. What may seem like cronyism or apathy is actually a testament to how well CCSC did this year, both in managing its own internal affairs and addressing real student needs.

No one will be able to say which of these two interpretations holds more truth until next year, when the new CCSC begins to take shape. From what we know of the five executive board candidates, we have a lot to look forward to from next year’s CCSC. But even with the election a foregone conclusion, we hope to get the chance to hear “It’s Always Sunny at Columbia” articulate its goals.

Perhaps the most probable reason there is only one party running is that there was a decided lack of awareness on campus about the fact that CCSC election registration was ongoing. While it’s true that students who would like to get involved in government usually seek out the information on how to run, a more casual would-be candidate would have had a harder time. The CCSC Elections Board Facebook group has been silent since April of 2011. There was not, as far as our board could discern, a single use of social media to promote this election season. While the board did make some colored posters, it clearly did not do enough to garner the attention of the wider student community.

The elections board has only one job that occurs at two points during the entire school year (the other time being first-year elections in the fall semester)­—it has no excuse not to dedicate a significant amount of time to publicizing elections. We hope that the new elections board, which is responsible for both overseeing and publicizing all CCSC elections, fulfills the second of these two responsibilities with greater vigor next year.

To respond to this staff edit, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com.

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