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ASG should re-examine change in election rules

On November 30, 2009

Associate Student Government (ASG) has adopted new rules in anticipation of the spring 2010 student body elections, in which three changes figure prominently. First, the election cycle will take place later than in past years. Second, candidates will have a lowered spending cap. Third, the student body president and student body vice president will run on the same ticket. The editorial board of The Miami Student enthusiastically endorses the first two changes, but regards the third as problematic.

By pushing back elections, ASG hopes to inoculate itself against the onset of nonproductivity that sometimes attacks its members as they near the end of their terms. With elections early in the semester, members can find themselves in a position similar to that in which a lame-duck president finds himself or herself. Holding elections later in the year will allow members to focus on their current positions and maintain drive.

For the elections in spring 2009, the spending cap had been raised dramatically. We support the reversal for the upcoming election cycle. The higher spending cap privileges students whose parents have money. With limited employment history, candidates aren't likely to have the financial resources of their own. It thus becomes a contest of family wealth. Moreover, the signs and buttons that proliferate are an example of wasteful spending. The money would be better put toward productive outlets, such as sponsoring projects.

Creating a single ticket on which both president and vice presidential candidates will run is unnecessary. Candidates can already campaign together, as we witnessed last year. Although the United States presidential race features such a ticket, Miami University is a different environment. ASG elections are not characterized by political parties, and so a single ticket is not a requirement. While we recognize the validity of the goal of unifying ASG, we feel confident that any two candidates could find a way to work together effectively. We don't need two people who think the same way. Moreover, this board believes encouraging a diversity of opinions, one that requires compromise, will benefit, not hinder, the university. A cohesive team should not come at the expense of other voices. Creating this single ticket and requiring candidates to pair off is likely to further polarize the school, aggravating an ASG that occasionally comes off as exclusive and disengaged with the student body.

The first two rule changes are prudent, but this last one isn't likely to improve ASG. As the voice of the student body, ASG should strive to be inclusive. Making candidates

run together is likely to divide candidates along party-like lines and discourage single candidates from participating. This rule deserves re-consideration.


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