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ASMC should take steps to counter apathy in student elections

After last spring’s ASMC elections, the classes of 2010 and 2012 still had no officers, most senate positions were not yet filled. At first glance, the Mills community seems apathetic. Mills women are passionately involved in many things, from playing on the volleyball court to volunteering at local high schools. So what accounts for the lack of
participation in ASMC elections? Is it a lack of interest in student body government? Is it a lack of interest in Mills affairs in general?

At press time, while the 10 executive board positions had been filled, applications were still available for the open slots, due on Sept. 11. Maybe it is better that students wait until the fall to decide whether to run for a government position, when their schedules have been worked out and potential candidates know for sure whether they have time to fulfill the duties of their role.

These duties include attending weekly meetings and planning events. Fall elections are also accessible to freshwomen and transfers. But if this is the case and fall elections make more sense, then why is ASMC still holding spring elections? Presumably it is so that those elected in the spring have time to plan their upcoming semester. It does not make sense, however, to have two separate elections. A student body government should function cohesively.

Another downfall is low voter turnout. School administrators have said it is difficult to be able to reach all students to get the word out. Presently, voting is done in person at a booth on Adams plaza, two lunch hours during the week. This is not an effective way to reach all students.

For example, commuters who are not on campus every day, or residential students who don’t frequent the plaza because they eat at Founders Commons could easily miss the booths. Everyone has the opportunity to be left out of the voting process.

And when the votes get counted, many students don’t even know what the outcomes are. Forums such as student news digests, posters and The Campanil’s own opinions page are effective ways for getting the word out.

ASMC should take responsibility for involving all students in its elections, and make our student body government a stronger campus presence. Students can take a first step this week: voting will the held in Adams plaza Sept. 16 and 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.