As many students at UC Irvine know, our student government, ASUCI, is always struggling to attract enough members, as evident by the lack of candidates on the spring election ballots. Interest from the student body is continually lacking in input and members from year to year. This is never good for productivity and as a result our student government has been marred by inefficiency and accusations of being out of touch with students.
This year, ASUCI Legislative Council lost four of its members, which wouldn’t be bad if they were able to find replacements. Unfortunately, one of the representatives from the School of Arts termed-out and was not replaced. Even now, that seat is open on the Legislative Council. When the representative went for re-election in fall quarter, no one from the School of Arts voted for her, and she was the only candidate.
The lack of interest also affects ASUCI’s judicial branch as well. Last year, after much debate and reshuffling of funds, ASUCI nominated its first Student Advocate General in four years and Abdullah Siddiqui became the first person appointed since 2008. However, once Siddiqui graduated last year the position was once again left vacant even though there was some talk during fall quarter about filling the position. Ultimately though, it did not amount to any action and the position is still open.
Now we could continue to complain that students aren’t involved in their student government, but we at the New University are going to try and reveal the factors as to why that is. Every university has its own unique culture which attracts applicants who want to be a part of that culture. For example, Chico State has a reputation of being a more socially-active school as opposed to, say, UCLA. However, it is hard to say exactly what kind of person UCI attracts.
Another thing we have to consider is what do the people who come to UCI want to do when they get here. If they don’t want to join student government, why should they come out to an ASUCI event, such as an Open House or a Legislative Council meeting?
However, there is another theory we could look into: ASUCI is not important enough to attract smart and motivated people on campus because it doesn’t play a significant role in students’ lives. Aside from the large events like Shocktoberfest, Wayzgoose, Soulstice and Welcome Week, how does ASUCI affect the daily lives of UCI students? While ASUCI does advocate for students, there is not sufficient interaction between students and ASUCI, which hinders ASUCI’s credibility.
Lastly, what is the role of ASUCI? According to the ASUCI website, the mission of ASUCI is to empower students and enrich their college experiences. Now, vagueness aside, the answer lies with the students. ASUCI does what its members deem as important, meaning that whoever joins effectively determines what ASUCI’s mission is; hence, the importance of the election process.
Still, it is hard to serve the needs of the student body when students don’t show interest. After all, how can someone address a need if they don’t know there is one? So if you are reading this and you have a concern you would like ASUCI to address, contact them and tell them about it. That’s what ASUCI is there for.
Please send all comments to email@example.com. Please include your name, major and year.
Filed Under: Opinion