October 23, 2009

Students for a democratic society

College Council should eliminate the practice of filling vacancies through internal elections.

If you’re a fourth-year in the College, you haven’t had the opportunity to vote for or against a single one of your Student Government (SG) representatives; likewise, if you’re a third-year, one of your reps was selected for you. In a special election last week, the 12 sitting members of College Council (CC) filled several vacant seats by voting amongst themselves. This method runs contrary to the principle of students having an elected voice in SG. As the main representative body for college students, CC should change its bylaws to ensure that all vacancies are filled democratically, by letting students decide in a class-wide election.

The pitfalls of the current system are clear. With a maximum of 15 council members voting on any one vacancy, a candidate who is already acquainted or friendly with just a few representatives may have an advantage in the process. Students who have previously lost a campus-wide bid for CC seats could find their way onto the council anyway, despite their previous rejection at the hands of voters.

A campus-wide election admittedly involves more time and effort than simply voting on candidates during a CC meeting. However, with SG’s online polling system, this effort is still fairly minimal, and the only additional cost incurred would be the $20 apiece that SG reimburses candidates for printing and copying fees in their campaigns. Giving candidates time to campaign would leave vacancies open longer, but waiting an extra week or two should be a small price to pay in order to ensure the students filling open seats are really the candidates their classmates want.

The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and two additional Editorial Board members.