Last week’s Student Government elections once again proved a very important point: when students feel their interests are at issue, they come out and make a statement. Over 1,900 of you turned out to cast a vote for Student Government over the three-day period in which voting took place.
While Student Government performs a very important role, in the end, it wields very little actual power. Every resolution passed and nearly every action taken has to receive final approval by the university administration. Although SG allocates funds for special programs under certain circumstances, the money it has to do so does not even equal what I paid in tuition for the three years I attended UM as an undergraduate. Just to judge your perception of the substantive impact SG has on your daily lives, consider for a moment whether or not you remember the last thing SG accomplished.
Yet the evidence of said accomplishments is all around you. Next time you take the shuttle to the Grove on Thursday, give a silent nod of thanks to SG. In spite of this, over 1,900 of you cast votes to choose the next SG President. These were votes cast for something that, while important, does not have the type of long-term practical impact that the actions of an actual government body do.
On April 10, an election for Mayor and two of the seats on the Coral Gables City Commission will be held. As most of you have heard by now, every major project that will improve UM- including those you voted for in university-wide referenda -are being denied to you by that very same City Commission. Why does this happen? Because in the end, more people vote in city elections who oppose what will make this university better, and what you’ve said you wanted, than those who support it.
If just 1,000 of the students who turned out to vote for SG President came out to cast a vote in this year’s Coral Gables mayoral election, think of the statement that would make to the city government: never again can your interests be treated as irrelevant.
All it takes to make this statement is to register to vote here in Coral Gables and then actually turn out to vote. The deadline to register is March 9 and can be facilitated by contacting any of the people you see around campus who are working with Get Out The Vote-and many of these individuals also work very hard as part of your Student Government. myUM also has a link for students to register under “Online Resources.”
Don’t let your interests continue to be ignored by the city. Register to vote in Coral Gables today!
Scott Wacholtz is a graduate student concentrating in Middle Eastern history. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org