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Letter to the Editor: Extend the USG candidacy deadline

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Members of USG listen during a meeting on Dec. 12. Credit: Lantern File Photo

Members of USG listen during a meeting on Dec. 12. Credit: Lantern File Photo

It has recently come to my attention that the current prospective Undergraduate Student Government presidential and vice presidential candidates are running unopposed. This is a huge concern because I don’t think that this is truly a representative system. I believe that USG has failed its student body that it works so hard to serve.

Firstly, I would like to point out that I am an extremely active student on campus, involved in numerous student organizations, and I had no clue about the USG process. The current process is not easily accessible or well-known by the student body. The dates for its election deadlines are not clearly listed on its website for outsiders who are looking to get involved. As an organization that handles funding for other student organizations, this is unacceptable, and the lack of transparency is disturbing. In true democratic form, this is a disgrace to not only the USG mission but to the undergraduate student body.

Secondly, it is hard to look over the fact that USG has a very homogenous demographic. How can this be a representation of OSU when its committees are comprised of white, Greek- affiliated individuals? I am not blaming this fact on the organization’s current members, but instead, I think this reflects USG’s complete lack of marketing to other groups on campus. How can one (nearly homogenous) group reflect the wishes and attitudes of an incredibly dynamic, diverse student population? The answer is: it can’t. I understand that there is a “diversity committee,” but this is not sufficient. The only way USG can truly voice the minority perspective is to seek out people different from those within it. I would recommend seeking help from the Multicultural Center for starters, and other resources available to organizations on campus.

In order to correct these wrongs, the only sufficient procedure is to extend the petition deadline for USG candidates. This will allow more people to be involved in the organization with different perspectives, ideals and life experiences that will strengthen USG as a whole. If USG’s mission is to serve the student body, please heed my request. The current protocol for electing higher positions in USG is a closed-off system that is hostile to outsiders. If you look at USG’s social media accounts that are supposed to be used as extensions of USG to engage the student body, elections were only mentioned once. This act alone feels like an attempt to get the people already inside of the organization a promotion to a higher office. However, as I’m sure you are aware, this is not how democracy is supposed to function. A quick glance at USG’s constitution will reveal that it is supposed to be a replication of the democratic system.

Reopen the petitions to allow more people to run for executive offices. Running unopposed should never happen at a large university such as OSU. USG should market to more groups, who it has previously, and obviously, not connected with. Make the process more transparent, with marketing in the Union, paired with clearly set deadlines on the USG website, for those who are not already involved in the organization.

 

Katie Epperson

Fourth-year in psychology

4 comments

  1. I’m sorry but this needs to be addressed. If you want to lead an organization let alone be the President of the Student Government you should know when deadlines are. You should take the time to do the research. Don’t tell me USG failed when no one decided to run besides one person. It is easy to complain and put the blame on someone else. It is lot harder to take PERSONAL responsibility for one’s own actions. Keep in mind USG is at the involvement fair in a historically great location. ALL students have the opportunity to stop by and sign up to join the group and make a difference. White greeks are not the only ones who have access to this organization or the ability to join. USG doesn’t operate in the shadows it is very open honestly. I’ll be the first to say I am not a fan of USG and everything they do. But to blame them for individual’s failure to file in time is shameful. When are we going to start holding ourselves accountable? You shouldn’t want to run solely because the only candidate is a white greek straight male. By classifying this you are marginalizing individuals into groups instead of realizing that we are all Buckeyes. Everyone can step up to run in the future. Join the group and be the change you want to see in this world. Again, it is easier to hide behind a keyboard and complain than it is to step up.

    • Didn’t someone turn in petitions late but was still allowed on the ballot in a prior election…..

      • They turned their petitions in a few hours after the unclear deadline. It was supposed to be 5:00 on the fifth Friday of the semester, but it was not clearly published on the USG website. They still turned it in on Friday because they just assumed the deadline was 11:59 – the end of the day. The Judicial Panel has since rectified this in the Elections Bylaws so that it is very explicit.

  2. The current system of putting greek students on a pedestal works quite well for the Office of Student Life, many of whom are former frat/sorority members themselves.
    Why would they ever want it to change to students that might actually hold them accountable?
    This years USG officers have done nothing but tow the line, which is just fine w the OSU administration.
    Until the student body rises up and demands change, and the removal of support for exclusionary greek life orgs, not much is going to be any different.

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