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Column: Real Issues Need To Be Discussed

Heights Columnist

Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

UGBC primary elections are in the books. Two teams handily walloped the other three camps. The UGBC "insiders" who campaigned in the traditional manner will have one more week to convince the student body that they are the best women or men for the job. One team, under the guise of fiscal responsibility, did not campaign during the primaries and only received 19 votes for their (lack of) effort. It is important that if a team is going to throw their hats in the ring that they present their platform to the student body or at least find some way to get people talking about them. Thank you to all the teams, though, who participated and engaged each other and the undergraduate student body in a dialogue that will hopefully help us to continue to improve our campus.

These fiscally responsible candidates do remind me of Lalonde-Tierney, the Vote Against Growth candidates from the 2011 primary election, who received seven votes for every dollar they spent on their campaign, making them the most financially prudent of those who ran. Unlike these two men, none of the teams this year were able to motivate students to come out—or perhaps log in—in droves to make their voices heard. Last year, close to 33 percent of undergraduates participated in the primaries, while this year only about 20 percent of students voted. With one week before the final election, I hope Gomez-Wanandi and Osnato-Taziva will be able to get undergraduates interested enough to take three minutes to click on the candidates they think most fit to run our student government. They don't necessarily need to push PottyView, but if they can create a hubbub about other important issues, such as Woods College students not being permitted to vote in UGBC elections, and the poor academic advising in some departments and schools in the University, more students will be engaged in the dialogue that improves our campus, and more inclined to log in to OrgSync to vote.

Students in the Woods College of Advancing Studies, or at least those close in age to undergraduates in the other schools at the University, should have some form of representation in UGBC. The issues that affect them, while perhaps not identical, are similar to those of other undergraduates, and they should have their opinions presented to the administration in the same way we do. This representation could come in the form of a representative elected to the Senate, but they should also be permitted to participate in UGBC general elections and student body referendums.

Academic advising, as I have mentioned in previous columns, is very much sub-par. If not sub-par, it is, at the very least, below the level of excellence that the provost's office and the University pride themselves on. The remaining candidates both pay lip service—and fairly good lip service at that—to the idea that our academic advising is inadequate. A majors/minors fair is certainly a good start, and improving academic advising during orientation will be helpful to students for a few months, but a broader overhaul is needed. Conor Sullivan, former UGBC presidential candidate and LSOE '13, would have been able to advocate for the changes needed in academic advising, because as a member of the Lynch School he has received quality advising that candidates not as well acquainted with Campion Hall have likely not received. If Cutberto Garza, university provost and dean of faculties, and his colleagues at the Waul House wish to improve academic advising, they should look to the Lynch School of Education as the model of excellence they should be pursuing for the entire University.

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