If the posters plastered across campus have yet to clue you in, yet another FUSA election season is upon us. We’ve got several candidates lined up to represent you and become the voice of the student body for next year, taking control of the thousands of dollars we’ve contributed and act as the official conduit to the administration.

Reminiscent of last year’s presidential debates, each side is ready along different ideological fronts to best serve each student.

Oh, wait. Each campaign offers only vague suggestions for improvement like increased student participation and listening better to the needs of EACH student. Just like every year. Has anyone actually been able to take these theories and turn them into anything useful for everyone else?

The simple answer is, of course, no. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see them crop up every year come election time. We need look no further than last year’s debates to determine the veracity of that claim. Then-candidate and current President Paul Duffy ’05 promised that FUSA would “break boundaries” under his leadership. I’m not disparaging anything that he’s done but I hardly think any boundaries have been broken this year.

Ben Manchak ’05, who lost in the presidential primary, proposed weekly “town hall-style” meetings where FUSA could directly interact with the students to exchange ideas. Duffy replied during the debate that he’d love to do something like that and spend as much time as possible answering questions, in an effort to bolster student participation in the government.

Unfortunately, FUSA has only run a handful of such events this year, and they had focuses outside of normal FUSA policy, such as introducing President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J.

The only saving grace in the pre-primary period was Rory Butterly 05’s Andy Kaufman-esque campaign which only served to emphasize the banality of the experience.

The problem is that the candidates just aren’t willing to put anything on the line and make concrete assertions about what they would do if they were running FUSA. Even when Duffy tried to think outside the box and boldly proclaim he’d look into getting other local universities to rent the Arena at Harbor Yard and grab a bigger band without any research (which would have revealed the absolutely prohibitive cost), at least he was bringing forth a new idea. I’d rather hear a dozen quixotic proclamations than one more promise of bringing back the Red Sea.

I guess the real reason we’re not seeing any divergence of ideas or points to rally behind is simple. Unlike the American political system, there are no separate parties. Every candidate is basically just cut from the same mold, most of them rising up through FUSA as senators, or coming up through residence hall government.

Sadly, there’s no panacea that can suddenly make everything right with the system. The FUSA system is too much like the high school popularity contest that decided the president. The burden really rests squarely with the students.

In the vote to approve FUSA’s new constitution, a document Duffy sees as the most significant work done this year, only a handful more than 100 students voted. Frequently the spring election sees a little under a third of the student body voting.

This is certainly a step up, but the student body has to become a little more aware.

Don’t just vote for your friend or who has the catchiest slogan, but really think about the selection and vote for the person who you think is willing to take the most chances to make this school a better place, not with tired clichés, but with leadership and originality.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.