Your ‘friends’ might not make the best candidates

Posted on Feb 17 2014 - 8:09am by Adam Ganucheau

What would you do with $200,000 to disperse to student organizations? What would you do with the power to make such monumental decisions that can mean enough to get personal calls from U.S. congressmen? How would you like a job that includes sideline passes to home and away sporting events, rides on the university’s private jet and a faculty parking pass? What about some waived tuition to help pay for some of your classes?

Welcome to the everyday lives of your ASB leaders — the same ones you will be electing tomorrow.

You will have the opportunity to choose between three candidates running for ASB president and two candidates running for ASB attorney general (the other four positions, vice president, treasurer, judicial chair and secretary, are uncontested elections).

This will be the fourth consecutive ASB election I have been involved with, either as a journalist or campaign volunteer. This year’s presidential election is easily the closest I’ve experienced in terms of qualified candidates and campus support, and the attorney general race has its fair share of importance, too.

I’m about to be extremely blunt and direct. Take it as you wish, but please continue reading.

Stop being so damn ignorant and take this election seriously. You hear this all the time from a few people on campus, and you laugh. You read this in The DM each year, and you toss it aside. The candidates themselves will say this publicly but then meet up with their fraternity or sorority members at the bar and buy your votes with shots.

If you really care about this university and your fellow students, you shouldn’t cast your vote for the candidate who is in the top fraternity or sorority, the candidate who offers the most appealing yet impossible platform ideas or the person who has the most attractive hair or looks the best on their campaign flyers (I really have heard both of those this past week). And you sure shouldn’t cast your vote for the candidate who has the funniest campaign video.

Remember the “Colonel Reb” title controversy that was botched by some members of the past two ASB officer classes over a span of two academic years? Elected ASB officials were completely behind that entire situation. Remember the days when you could pick up a free Scantron at the library? An ASB official made that luxury disappear.

But it’s equally important to think about the benefits the student body and university receive from the ASB.

The first-ever UM Creed Week, a week focusing on the UM Creed, was implemented by an ASB official this year. Multiple attempts to get our professors to stop giving us so much work the week before finals have been passed through ASB channels this year. Everybody’s Tent, a place for literally anyone to tailgate before football games, was started by a few ASB officials this year.

The decisions these elected students make not only affect you, the entire student body, but also affect the university and its local, regional and sometimes even national perceptions.

Do some research. Continue reading this issue of The DM for a bio for each candidate. We even listed each Facebook and Twitter campaign page so you can do some digging of your own.

You are obviously entitled to vote for whom you want. That’s one of the many reasons The DM did not officially endorse candidates this year. But this election is so important for a university that goes through more and more changes each year. I don’t want leaders who will consider their own personal agendas before thinking about what is best for me and the rest of the student body. If you were truly OK with that, I don’t think you would have read this far into this column.

Let’s elect candidates for their values and ideas, not for their involvement or physical appearance. Let’s choose the candidates who will help the university continue to change for the better, not the ones who hide behind support of organizations they are involved in.

It’s as simple as this: Make your vote count tomorrow, and make Ole Miss a better place.

— Adam Ganucheau