The presidential and vice presidential candidates for Student Association held a debate Wednesday night in Johnson Hall.
The debate, carried on between two unopposed candidates in front of a sparsely-crowded room in a hall for only freshmen, managed to encapsulate almost every problem that has plagued the Student Association government.
The elections for top spots have been uncontested two years in a row, while the Senate has been comprised of a majority of freshman. Full of enthusiasm, sure, but lacking the experience to know the issues most pressing to the student body.
It would be unfair to place these issues solely at the feet of the SA governing body alone. The true issue is with the student body.
Having low attendance at Senate meeting shows a lack of interest; holding consecutive uncontested elections while Senate can hardly make quorum is a sign of a systemic issue.
Simply put, Oswego State students don’t think student government matters. It’s easy to dismiss it as a place to get funds for your clubs, or even just ignore it altogether for those students not involved in anything on campus. Students are only here four years, what’s the point of trying to change things?
This complacency is both disappointing and dangerous. In a time when students are being put thousands of dollars in debt to be educated, when loan companies and government agencies are making billions of those loan dollars and when the student handbook is open to constant changes, students need to voice their opinions.
Taking to Facebook or Twitter is not enough. Students need to voice their opinion in the loudest and most powerful forum available to them: student government.
As the most immediate way to affect change on campus for students, the governing body positions should be the most contested on campus. Candidates for president and vice president should have to present plans and pitch legislation to allow the student body to decide who they feel represents their interests best. What they say and what they believe should matter, because in the end, theirs will be the voice of the student body, whether students think it represents them or not.
Both these candidates may just be great for the student body and fully represent its interest. It’s of course possible, but there’s no way to ensure the best candidate without competition and different ideas. That’s how democracy works.
But there we were Wednesday night, for a second straight year, listening to unopposed ideas from unopposed candidates echo around a half-filled room.