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.
Fourth-year in psychology